Have you ever looked at an object or an image and felt that something just wasn’t quite right? With this video of five very young and very small musicians from Chongam Kindergarten, Chongjin, North Korea, you could be forgiven for having that very same feeling. These clearly are very talented young children, yet while they play so skilfully, it is almost comical watching them wrestle with guitars that are bigger than they are. As a consequence every one of their actions and movements is accentuated against the giant instruments. However the sound is wonderful and the melody could very easily become one of those catchy tunes you keep finding yourself humming without realising you are. So what, if anything, is not quite right about this scenario?
Well perhaps because the children come from a country we know so little about, and are not allowed to know much about, the air of mystery already exists. Then there are the questions most of us will ask at some point, and that is how much of the performance is literally that, a performance, and how much of it is five young children enjoying themselves? Despite the almost comical size of the guitars in relation to the stature of the children, they seem to be very accomplished musicians for their age. However dare we ask whether they have learned to play through their own wish, or is this a forced and ‘orchestrated’ performance. The smiles seem almost too perfect and the expressions are almost like those on the face of a porcelain doll. You know the look, one which is too realistic to be believable. Then finally there is the intricacy of the ‘choreography’, how their heads and bodies all move in perfect synchronicity, yet almost without feeling or sentiment, as though everything is a deliberate and calculated movement rather than a natural action. So, at the end of what is a genuinely enjoyable performance, how are we meant to feel? How are you left feeling? What do your friends think? Do let us know in this post’s comments section on our Facebook page, we would really like to know.