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Enka Star Kim Yonja Sings July 22 at Morongo

Fans of enka music will take note of the news that Kim Yonja, star of the popular vocal genre in both Korea and Japan, will make a rare Southern California appearance at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa on Sunday, July 22.

Kim Yonja

Often called the reigning queen of enka, the award-winning artist has released dozens of albums in Japan and Korea over the past four decades.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the legendary Kim Yonja, whose incredible vocals and mesmerizing traditional style have made her a legend on both sides of the Pacific,” said Morongo Executive Director of Marketing Simon Farmer. “Ms. Kim’s appearance at Morongo is a rare opportunity for fans to see her perform live in an intimate setting.”

Discovered in 1974 during a Korean TV talent search show, Kim released her Japanese debut album in 1977, “The Life of a Woman.” Her 1981 “Bouquet of Songs” broke the all-time Korean record for album sales with 3.6 million copies sold. She made her first appearance on NHK’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen” in 1989.

Over the last four decades, Kim has released dozens of albums and received numerous music and entertainment honors in Japan and Korea. She continues to tour in Japan, often performing her version of songs made famous by the great Misora Hibari.

Enka is a popular Japanese music genre considered to resemble traditional folk music. Enka singers and musicians typically wear a kimono and use both Western and traditional instruments. Translated as “ballad,” enka songs have recurring themes such as lost love, tough times, and melancholy, and generally incorporate a pentatonic scale, creating a melody similar to American blues.

Tickets begin at $60 for the 4 p.m. show. For more information, visit

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