Iconic Slovenian band Laibach to perform in Ukraine amid war

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia's iconic band Laibach will hold a concert in Ukraine's capital next month, saying Wednesday this will make them the first foreign group to perform a full show in Kyiv since the beginning of the Russian invasion last February.

The industrial rock band will hold a “very special concert” on March 31st at the Bel Etage Music Hall in Kyiv, a statement said. The concert will be dubbed ‘Eurovision’ in reference to the pop song contest which Ukraine won in 2022 but which will be hosted by the UK in Liverpool instead of Ukraine this year because of the war.

“While the rest of Europe prepares to celebrate its idea of freedom and solidarity on 9 May in Liverpool, Laibach will be taking Eurovision back to Ukraine — where it belongs and where the only true and real vision of Europe is taking place right now,” the concert announcement said.

Laibach is Slovenia's best known band which has won fame abroad for its totalitarian visual style, toying with populist imagery and almost martial-rhythm songs, sang in husky, deep vocals.

Formed in 1980 when Slovenia was still part of Communist-run Yugoslavia, Laibach immediately stirred controversy with its name — German for Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana — and because it used a black cross as one of its symbols.

Considered too provocative for a regime that rose from the anti-Nazi struggle in World War II, the band was eventually formally banned and moved abroad in 1983 after they locked the audience inside a concert hall and played the sound of a dog barking extremely loudly for almost half an hour.

In 2015, Laibach performed in North Korea.

In Kyiv, the band will play its best known songs and the new track, “The Engine of Survival,” that is set for release in 2023.

“With anthems and marches at the core of many of their compositions, Laibach have long compared themselves to military marching bands created to maintain high morale on the battlefield, and with this concert in Kyiv, Laibach supports Ukraine and Ukrainians in their fight against Russian, and any other, aggression,” said the band's statement.

All proceeds raised from the Kyiv concert will be donated to charity and animal aid groups working in Ukraine, the statement added.


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