Laibach have announced their “Liberation Day Tour” that consists of two concerts in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.
The band was formed 35 years ago, in the town industrial town Trbovlje, which was located in the former-Yugoslavia. (Today, Trbovlje is in Slovenia.) Laibach was founded in the same year that the Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito died, and they rose to fame as Yugoslavia careened into a path that would ultimately lead to its dissolution in the early 1990s.
Throughout their career, Laibach have opposed being labeled as a pop, rock, techno, or industrial band, because they are “Self-styled engineers of human souls,” according to a press release, and have the ability to make fans “think, dance and march to the same music.”
As a band that is hailed as being one of the most internationally acclaimed to originate in one of the nations that was a part of the former Soviet Union, Laibach is an attractive choice in entertainment for North Korea, as prior to the fall of the Soviet Union in Central and Eastern Europe, the leaderships of both held a similar set of Communist or Socialist beliefs.
In August 2015, Laibach will be the one of the first European bands – and quite possibly the first from a former Yugoslavian nation – to perform in North Korea. These concerts in Pyongyang will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonization, and subsequent division several years later into two enemy states – North Korea and South Korea – that have had and continue to have an uneasy truce.
These concerts in North Korea will be the subject of a documentary film that is slated to premiere in 2016; however, North Korea – also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – has always been a secretive and reclusive militarized state. In the West, we are familiarized with limited news footage that often depicts North Korea’s military marches, mass gymnastic exercises and hymns sung in praise of the Great Leader, along with its defiant resistance to most aspects of Western culture, and saddening reports of the nation’s human rights violations.
Laibach will play in Pyongyang, North Korea, on August 19th and 20th, 2015.