The First Western Rock Band to Perform in North Korea Will Be…Laibach?

Laibach dropped into my consciousness in the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR. I’d done a radio special called “Modern Rock in the Eastern Bloc,” which led me to an import by Slovenia’s (or, more correctly for the era, communist Yugoslavia’s) biggest band.

Described by Wikipedia as “martial industrial”–I like that–Laibach revelled in being confrontational and contrarian, something that earned them dissident status not just at home but with much of rock’n’roll. This, after all, is a band that covered the entire Beatles Let It Be album in their own style.

Me? My favourite is this rendition of “Sympathy for the Devil.” It sounds like they drafted Dracula for the intro vocals.

Laibach’s latest triumph (?) is to become the first rock band from the West–hell, the first foreign rock band of any kind from anywhere–to play in the nutty hermit kingdom of North Korea. Two concerts are set for Pyongyang on August 19 and 20, each in front of about 2,000 people, including, presumably, the daffy Kim Jong-un.

Damn, I wish I could see this. Read more at Mashable.

Laibach in DPRK
Laibach’s Sound of Music in the DPRK

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “The First Western Rock Band to Perform in North Korea Will Be…Laibach?

  • July 17, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Once again… another smashing post. A very interesting band indeed with a heck of a lot of creativity and a killer (albeit low-key) sense of humor. I predict due to this announcement we’ll be hearing more about this neat group.


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