North Korea invites Eric Clapton to play Pyongyang

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:10pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - North Korea invited guitar legend Eric Clapton to play in its capital, the communist country's embassy in London said on Tuesday as the New York Philharmonic gave a historic performance in the hermit state.

An embassy spokesman said a letter had been sent to Clapton's agent asking the musician to perform in Pyongyang.

"If he plays a concert in Pyongyang it will be a good opportunity for the Korean people to understand Western music," the spokesman said.

"He is a world-famous guitarist. Eric Clapton is quite well known not only in the U.K. but in the entire world," he said. "So it would be fantastic if he would come to play in Pyongyang."

Such a concert would make the British 62-year-old Grammy-winning singer of "Layla" and "Cocaine" the first Western rock star to play Pyongyang.

But Clapton's U.S. spokeswoman said there was no agreement on a performance.

"Eric Clapton receives numerous offers to play in countries around the world," she said in a statement. "There is no agreement whatsoever for him to play in North Korea, nor any planned shows there."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's son and purported heir apparent, Kim Jong-Chol, is said to be a fan of Clapton. In June 2006, Japan's Fuji TV broadcast footage of a man the network said was Kim at Clapton concerts in Germany.

The younger Kim, apparently accompanied by his girlfriend and several North Korean bodyguards, attended four Clapton concerts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Leipzig and Berlin, Fuji TV said.   Continued...

<p>Muscian Eric Clapton (L) performs at the Singapore Indoor Stadium January 13, 2007. North Korea has invited Clapton to rock its capital, a spokesman for the Communist country's embassy in London said on Tuesday. REUTERS/David Yeo</p>