Slovenian avant-garde group Laibach played a gig from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Wednesday (August 19), becoming the initial foreign group to ever perform from the country.

The Asian country – officially named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – are notoriously averse to outside influence, previously banning their citizens from owning or paying attention to any foreign music.

The group appeared in the 1,500-capacity Ponghwa arts theatre, doing a 45-minute placed in total, which included a well-known Korean folk song cover up of songs from musical The Sound Of Music. Watch footage below.

The audience reportedly contains local residents, diplomats, tourists and political figures. The organiser behind the diplomatic trip, Simon Cockerell of Beijing’s Koryo Tours, who told Agence France-Presse concerning the crowd’s reaction, saying: “They appeared to really enjoy it. It wasn’t bavarian motor works logo pulling faces of distrust or confusion.”

“Everyone sat inside their seats the main time and there wasn’t really any clapping along or singing along, even so that’s normal at concerts here anyway,” added Cockerell.

“I imagine the majority there really had no idea what is available, but the entire show perceived to be appreciated.”

Pyongyang’s official news agency wrote with the performance: “Performers showed well the artistic skill from the band through peculiar singing, rich voice and skilled rendition.”

Laibach in North Korea


Laibach formed in 1980 in Trbovlje, then part in the former Yugoslavia. They are recognized for their use of political and nationalist imagery, which some have observed as parody yet others have deemed glamourisation.

In July that it was reported that officials in North Korea were going house-to-house, looking for banned music.

Online news source Daily NK reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered people his Inminban neighbourhood units to go looking local homes into their area.

It had also been reported how the Korean Workers’ Party Propaganda and Agitation Department have included in their set of banned music.