In Brief

Why Joss Stone is in North Korea

British singer-songwriter performs in Pyongyang bar as part of her Total World Tour

British singer-songwriter Joss Stone has staged an impromptu gig in North Korea as part of an ambitious project to perform in every country on Earth.

The 31-year-old was pictured singing in front of a small crowd of tourists and guides in a bar in the capital Pyongyang on Wednesday night - her latest show in her Total World Tour.

Stone launched the tour in 2014 and has performed in more than 175 countries, including Syria, Pakistan and Iraq, reports India-based news site NDTV.

The Devon-born star announced her trip to Pyongyang in an Instagram video on Tuesday, shortly before boarding a plane to the hermit kingdom.

“It’s a fine day to go to North Korea,” she said in the video. “We'll be getting on a plane very soon to go to Pyongyang. A place in North Korea, anyway. It’s gonna be fun.”She also wrote that she was “learning a song called arrirang” [sic] to sing to the crowd - a reference to Arirang, a folk song that has become an unofficial anthem of both North and South Korea.

The BBC reports that the visit was arranged by Simon Cockerell, who runs Koryo Tours, a company specialising in trips to the isolated country.

Cockerell described the performance as an unofficial gig and posted photos of Stone singing for around 40 tourists and guides at a bar in what he identified as the Yanggakdo cinema complex.

“Let’s do it again with a full band and thousands of local fans not too far in the future!!” he wrote in a message on Instagram.

The show comes two weeks after Stone “performed in a small hall in Derik, in the north-eastern corner of war-torn Syria”, in front of an audience of about 70 people, the Daily Mail reports.

“As bemused Syrians and soldiers looked on, Stone performed such songs as Burt Bacharach’s The Look of Love before proclaiming: ‘We are made stronger by our mistakes’ and launching into her hit Right to Be Wrong,” the newspaper adds.

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