[Updates below. Editor’s note: so much for the free flow of knowledge – that which is supposed to distinguish the “free world” from authoritarian regimes. Due to restrictions common to many U.S. internet service providers, we are unable to access the original KCNA articles for this story, relying instead on approved news sources.]
KCNA Watch – Slovenian Laibach Band Gives Performance Here
Pyongyang, August 19, 2015 21:19 KST (KCNA) – The Laibach Band of Slovenia gave a performance at the Ponghwa Art Theatre on Wednesday.
The performance was given under the joint name of the DPRK-Europe Association for the Promotion of Cultural Interchange, the Traavik Art Company of Norway and the Laibach Band of Slovenia. Put on the stage were such numbers as world famous songs and songs on the theme of peace against war.
Performers showed well the artistic skill of the band through peculiar singing, rich voice and skilled rendition. Korean song “Arirang” was also put on the stage.
Among the audience were officials concerned, people in Pyongyang, a European regional delegation for friendship and cultural interchange, diplomatic envoys, representatives of international organizations and staff members of foreign embassies here and foreign guests staying in the DPRK.
Their gig in Pyongyang was filmed by the state news agency, KCNA, and appears to show the band performing at the capital’s Ponghwa Art Theatre. The audience seemed appreciative, if fairly bemused by the show, which was accompanied by images styled from North Korean propaganda posters.
Formed in communist Yugoslavia, Laibach are known for their eclectic cover versions, and last night’s show included ‘Across The Universe’, ‘The Final Countdown’, a traditional Korean folk song, and several songs from The Sound of Music – said to be used as an English teaching aid in DPRK – including ‘Edelweiss’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘The Hills Are Alive’.
Japan Times (AP) – Slovenia rock band Laibach taps Nazi-era-themed standard for Pyongyang debut
Slovenian avant-garde rock group Laibach is known for pushing the envelope — wearing military uniforms on stage, toying with socialist and Marxist themes, making visual references to authoritarian symbols.
In Pyongyang, they played songs from “The Sound of Music.”
The group, known for its growling, visually charged style of music, performed Wednesday before a full house at a concert hall in Pyongyang in one of North Korea’s more unusual attempts at opening the door to what is generally seen as the decadent and vaguely threatening pop culture of the West.
The “Sound of Music” choice had some subversive elements of its own, as the original was set in the era of Nazi Germany…
The group’s North Korea appearances — they plan to hold another concert on Thursday — are being called the “Liberation Day Tour” and coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un lets Seoul know what he thinks of their “music”…
NK News (August 20th) – North Korea fires on S. Korean loudspeakers
North Korea fired on South Korea’s recently installed propaganda speakers on Thursday at 4 p.m. using counter battery artillery, according to local media.
The attack was directed towards the Yoncheon 28th Division, but the loudspeakers were reportedly undamaged. People living in Hwangsan-li and Sanmgot-li, Yoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi-do have been evacuated from the area.
South Korea reportedly fired back with dozens of 155mm shells, though there was no further response from the DPRK. Seoul will also hold an emergency council meeting on the attack, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
Yonhap News Agency (08/21 01:10) – N. Korea convenes emergency meeting over tensions with S. Korea
North Korea convened an emergency meeting of its Central Military Commission on Thursday night, state media reported, after the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire across their heavily armed border.
The North’s Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported that the North is closely watching how South Korea will respond to its warning that it would take strong military action unless the South stops border propaganda broadcasts and dismantles broadcast facilities within 48 hours.
Updates, August 21/22
Pyongyang, August 21, 2015 06:39 KST (KCNA) — The situation of the country is now inching close to the brink of a war due to the continued anti-DPRK political and military provocations by the U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet forces.
The broadcasting for anti-DPRK psychological warfare, resumed by the south Korean puppet military gangsters in all sectors of the front under the pretext of doubtful “mine explosion” case which occurred in the demilitarized zone of the western sector of the front on August 4, is still going on day and night. And the leaflet-scattering operation against the DPRK, kicked off with mobilization of die-hard reactionary organizations, has gone beyond a tolerance limit.
Psychological warfare against the DPRK is, in essence, an open act of war against it.
In this regard, the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army on August 20 sent an ultimatum to the south Korean puppet Ministry of Defense that a strong military action would be launched at once unless it stops the anti-DPRK broadcasting for psychological warfare and removes all psywar means within 48 hours.
DW (21.08.2015) – North Korea declares ‘quasi state of war’
Pyongyang on Friday declared a “a quasi-state of war in frontline areas.” Tensions remain high on the heavily armed border…
Pyongyang had threatened to take further action unless Seoul ended its loudspeaker broadcasts.
The public announcements had been causing tense relations between the North and the South.
After a lull of 11 years, South Korea had started broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda into North Korea…
…Defense officials said South Korea will continue the loudspeaker broadcasts despite the threats.
Yonyap News Agency (08/22 02:35) – N. Korea says it is ready to go to ‘all-out war’
The North’s foreign ministry issued the warning, claiming once again that the country never provoked Thursday’s exchange of fire with South Korea and accusing Seoul of fabricating the allegations that the communist nation fired first.
“Our military and people are prepared to risk an all-out war not just to simply respond or retaliate, but to defend the system our people chose,” the North said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.
“The situation has reached the verge of war and can no longer be reversed,” it said.
August 22. A reversal has come. As of 6PM KST, talks are underway between the two Koreas. Has Laibach’s music for peace inspired a thawing of relations?…
Yonhap News Agency (08/22 18:40) – Rare inter-Korean talks raise hope for improved ties
Hopes grew for improved ties between South and North Korea following Saturday’s surprise announcement of high-level talks planned for later in the day.
The talks, scheduled for 6 p.m. inside the Demilitarized Zone, would be the first government-level meeting between the sides since October, indicating how bad inter-Korean ties have become in recent months…
The last time the two Koreas held ministerial talks was in November 2007.
“(Today’s) high-level contact between South and North appears to be unprecedented in level or format,” said a government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
On the agenda will likely be the mine explosion, the artillery exchange, as well as humanitarian issues, such as resuming temporary reunions of families separated by the Korean War.
North Korea specifically requested that Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo be present at the meeting.
Balkanist – The Hills are Alive: Laibach in Pyongyang