Slovenian avant-garde group Laibach played a gig within the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Wednesday (August 19), becoming the primary foreign group to ever perform inside 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 hearing any foreign music.

The group appeared with the 1,500-capacity Ponghwa arts theatre, after 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 was made up of 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 in regards to 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 within their seats the complete time and there wasn’t really any clapping along or singing along, even so that’s the standard at concerts here anyway,” added Cockerell.

“I imagine most people there really had no idea what you should expect, but the entire show did actually be appreciated.”

Laibach in North Korea


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

In July it had been reported that officials in North Korea were going house-to-house, trying to find banned music.

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

It have also been reported the Korean Workers’ Party Propaganda and Agitation Department have put into their set of banned music.

‘Laibach’ mean ‘Ljubljana’ (the capital of Slovenia) in German.