September 19, 2020

Laibach in the DPRK: Will Slovenian band rock North Korea?

What led a controversial group from the former Communist Bloc to organize a trip in North Korea?

As far as rock scenes go, North Korea’s is low-key. Apart from the famous Moranbong all-girl pop group, the country’s deeply restrictive system of political censorship would put paid to a burgeoning alternative rock music scene quite quickly. In all, it’s an unlikely pit stop for a rebellious group on a world tour.

But this could be about to change. In August, as part of their “Liberation Day” tour, Slovenian industrial band Laibach will play at Pyongyang’s Kim Won Gyun musical conservatory to an audience of roughly 1,000 locals, and a handful of lucky foreigners visiting with Young Pioneer Tours. While the capital has hosted everything from classical music to pro wrestling, it has never seen a Western rock band take the stage – and the band are even hoping to play one or two songs at the DMZ.