First foreign band rocks North Korea

August 19, 2015 11:23 pm 0 comments Views: 5
Rockers ... Slovenian rock band Laibach pose during a photo shoot at Kim Il Sung Square p

Rockers … Slovenian rock band Laibach pose during a photo shoot at Kim Il Sung Square prior to their performance in Pyongyang, North Korea. Picture: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
Source: AP

WITH a 45-minute set that included cover versions of Edelweiss and Do-Re-Mi from the ‘Sound of Music’, the avant-garde Slovenian group Laibach has become the first foreign rock band to play a gig in North Korea.

Foreigners who attended the Wednesday evening concert in Pyongyang said the Slovenian rockers were accorded a warm, if slightly muted, reception by the 1500-capacity crowd at the capital’s Ponghwa Arts Theatre.

“They seemed to really enjoy it. It wasn’t an audience pulling faces of distrust or confusion,” said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours which arranged a special trip for foreign tourists to see the show.

It was the first of two Laibach gigs in Pyongyang arranged as part of 70th anniversary celebrations of the Korean peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Apart from around 150 foreigners — including diplomats, NGO workers and tourists — the rest of the audience was made up of North Koreans.

Rocking out ... Slovenian rock band Laibach performs in Pyongyang, North Korea. Picture:

Rocking out … Slovenian rock band Laibach performs in Pyongyang, North Korea. Picture: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
Source: AP

First foreign band rocks North Korea

Singer … a member of Slovenian rock band Laibach wears a traditional Korean dress as she performs in Pyongyang, North Korea. Picture: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
Source: AP

Founded in 1980 in the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia’s best-known music export has courted controversy with its deliberately ambiguous use of political and nationalist imagery.

While some accuse the rockers of being fascist, others argue that their work is a critique of totalitarian ideology.

Big act ... Slovenian avant-garde music group Laibach perform at the Ponghwa Arts Theatre

Big act … Slovenian avant-garde music group Laibach perform at the Ponghwa Arts Theatre in Pyongyang. Picture: AFP/Simon Cockerell
Source: AFP

The North Korean popular music scene, is largely limited to state-approved bands making state-approved sounds, although foreign music — especially from South Korea — is becoming more accessible with the spread of portable media players.

Amused ... insiders said the North Korean audience enjoyed the Slovenian spectacular. Pic

Amused … insiders said the North Korean audience enjoyed the Slovenian spectacular. Picture: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
Source: AP

These can play music smuggled into the country on CDs or USB sticks.

Deviating quite significantly from their normal repertoire, Laibach offered the Pyongyang crowd a medley of songs from The Sound of Music, which is well known in the North.

The hills are alive ... North Koreans apparently love the Sound of Music. Picture: Suppli

The hills are alive … North Koreans apparently love the Sound of Music. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied

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www.news.com.au/entertainment/music

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