Western rock goes live in North Korea

Ivan Novak of Slovenian band Laibach.
Ivan Novak of Slovenian band Laibach.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB

A Slovenian avant-garde rock band plans to be the first western pop act to perform in North Korea. Laibach formed in communist Yugoslavia in 1980 and is one of the country's best known bands. 

The group says it aims to provoke debate beyond the isolated country's borders through their 'Liberation Day Tour' - which will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonization and subsequent division into two enemy states. 

Band member Ivan Novak says in English:  "We are not interested to support the regime, that's not our main objective. Of course people are going to try to use it. And we also don't go to North Korea to provoke North Koreans and North Korean authorities, we are actually going there to provoke everybody outside (of) North Korea." 

It took almost a year to get a permission for the concerts which were initially to play to a total of 2,000 people, but the venue was changed to accommodate bigger crowd due to demand. 


Novak adds: "The whole step towards changes is a long step, it's a big process, it's not that easy to do it and they have to decide by themselves obviously. I think they are trying. They are actually opening their doors and the result of getting Laibach into North Korea is basically one of those, one of those show marks that they are actually opening."

The concerts will also be subject of a documentary film scheduled to premiere in 2016.