‘Like the Truman show’ European band recall gig in ‘elegant North Korea to confused crowd’

North Korea documentary./LIBERATION DAY/TRAAVIK.INFO

North Korea is like the 'Truman Show' and has 'elegance' and 'poverty,' a band member has claimed

Slovenian band Laibach became one of the first Western groups to play in the prison state after performing to a “confused” audience in North Korea.

Band member Ivan Novak said: "When you are there, you really feel like you are in the Truman show.

“It is a kind of existing utopia that it looks likes it is functioning.”

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The controversial 2015 tour is the subject of a documentary that has appeared in film festivals around the world.

The film shows the band struggle with the culture clash and outdated technology.

Laibach had their performance cut in half as censors removed songs including a tribute to a North Korean song called We Will Go to Mount Paektu which they warned would cause “complete mayhem”.


It is a kind of existing utopia that it looks likes it is functioning

Band member Ivan Novak

Mr Novak said: "That censorship is not as cunning as censorship in the West.

"If you go on YouTube, they tell you these videos are not appropriate for advertising, so that is a form of censorship in the West but in North Korea it's purely aesthetically things really, this explosion is too heavy."

Kim Jong-un’s secretive regime keeps its population living in poverty while spending huge sums developing nuclear weapons with the hope of being able to strike the US mainland.

Kim Jong-un visits cosmetics factory alongside his wife Ri Sol-ju

Sun, October 29, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a recently renovated cosmetics factory in Pyongyang

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory, as his wife Ri Sol-Ju looks on AFP/. Images

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory, as his wife Ri Sol-Ju looks on

US student Otto Warmbier died after being detained on a visit to North Korea.

The 22-year-old was arrested as he tried to leave the country after being seen on CCTV trying to steal a propaganda poster in his hotel.

Mr Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labour for the crime but only served 17 months before being released to the US on “compassionate grounds”.

Morten Traavik.

Director Morten Traavik has visited the country several times to work on a series of projects

Mr Novak said he saw “poverty and elegance” as the band toured the Communist state but claimed there was none of the "cynicism, negativism" and "pornography" he saw in the West.

The band appeared in military uniforms and traditional north Korean dress as they performed to a “confused crowd” of 1,500 people.

Director Morten Traavik has visited North Korea 20 times directing an accordion over of A-ha hit Take on Me among other performances.

Mr Traavik said: ”It was kind of a no-brainer, that Laibach's totalitarian aesthetics, their story and everything about them made it the most challenging and, at the same time, the most familiar, to bring to North Korean ears.”


The film, Liberation Day, has had a mixed critical response

The film has had a mixed reception with reviewers branding it “thoughtful” and “bizarre”.

The director described the Kim Jong-un’s kingdom as a "third world country posing as a super power".

He said: "This country cannot be a threat to anybody but itself.”

Asked about the bewildered reaction of the crowd Mr Traavik said it was a “very normal” reaction to the band.

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