Home Entertainment Laibach Becomes First Western Band to Perform Inside North Korea

Laibach Becomes First Western Band to Perform Inside North Korea


Laibach has become the first western rock group to play inside North Korea after August 19 concert in Pyongyang.

Photographs seem to show that the audience at the Ponghwa Theatre was appreciative, if not completely sure of what to make of the concert.

The Slovenian band describes itself as “a music and cross-media group” and is known for playing eclectic cover versions of famous songs.

The songs were accompanied by images styled from North Korean propaganda posters projected on to a screen, with translations in Korean.

As Laibach promised before travelling to North Korea, they played a number of songs from The Sound of Music, including Edelweiss, Do-Re-Mi and The Hills Are Alive.Laibach North Korea concert 2015

It is not the first time Laibach performed the songs – but the choice to sing them in Pyongyang was deliberate.

The tour’s organizer, Morten Traavik, said the movie “is very well known in North Korea”.

The 1965 musical is one of the few western movies people are allowed to watch in the secretive state.

When a Vanity Fair journalist visited Pyongyang in March, one North Korean complained to him that he had to watch The Sound of Music more than 100 times as it “was our English-language textbook at university”.

The fact that The Sound of Music is about a family escaping from Nazi Germany does not seem to have set North Korean alarm bells ringing.

Laibach also performed Opus’ Life is Life, Europe’s The Final Countdown and Beatles’ Across the Universe.