Notice! Care2 will go offline for site maintenance July 28 at 9pm PST. Thanks
START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
1,269,170 people care about Politics

Music Should Be Free

Music Should Be Free

It is rare that a CD stops me in my tracks, forces me to turn up the volume, and feel a need to understand all languages of the world.  Such was the case with ‘Listen to the Banned.’

I’d been checking my mailbox every day; earlier that week, its producer, a young musician named Deeyah had contacted me.  Whilst gentle in nature, our initial call turned into a fountain of shared experiences, and a passion for not only bringing awareness to injustices, but to find ways to steadily defray them.

Deeyah had a unique perspective; she herself was a young singer, born to a Muslim family in Norway. During her career, she had to endure constant intimidation, physical threats; once even being attacked at one of her own concerts, as well as a failed abduction attempt from her school grounds.  Deeyah left Norway in 1996 for the UK. When the symptoms of the same problem she had fled from in Norway resurfaced in the UK in early 2005, Deeyah once again packed her bags and left for the safety of the United States.

From her home in the US, we talked about her experiences; at one point she had been threatened for showing part of her back in an outfit she wore onstage.  My head was spinning throughout our conversation – as I thought of the tank tops I frequently wear about the streets of New York, even the more conservative outfits I wear when working in India.

Deeyah shared the story of a small group in Denmark with me. FreeMuse was born of the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship held in Copenhagen in November 1998; they are the only NGO dedicated to musicians who are persecuted for their music.  The group works tirelessly to raise awareness for imprisoned musicians, bears witness at their trials, and lobbies for their release.  They have documented cases of music censorship in more than 100 countries.  Deeyah has a first hand understanding of the importance of their work; she herself was assisted by them.

Deeyah notes, 

“Music to me is a deeply profound art form and an emotional language which is consistently in danger of being sanitized and compromised for the political, social and so called religious agendas of some. This is where the work of FreeMuse advocating freedom of expression and highlighting the cases of censorship affecting artists, musicians and composers worldwide is so preciously valuable to us all.  I first became aware of the work of them in 2005/2006. I have spent half of my life either being directly affected by externally imposed restrictions and censorship or the most creatively paralyzing being required to constantly have to exercise self-censorship in fear of violent reactions or cultural excommunication.”

Deeyah said that learning about the existence of an organization like FreeMuse was a great source of comfort and inspiration.  

“They have given me the support and sense of community that I was especially desperate for through some of my darker moments in life and the harsher experiences in my career. Not only is the independent voice of FreeMuse essential for artists like me but the platform they have provided to address the situation of music censorship is vital in the fight for the freedom of artistic expression.”

In 2010, Deeyah worked with FreeMuse’s Ole Reitov to release the CD ‘Listen to the Banned’.  The CD features 14 musicians from around the globe: Iran, Uighurstan, Turkey, Israel, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cote D’Ivoire, Palestine, Israel and Sudan.  The album topped European world music charts, and rightfully so.  I’m amazed by the production quality, and the work it took bring together these songs that international governments want silenced.

March 3rd is ‘Music Freedom Day’, and FreeMuse is spearheading a global community effort. Concerts and conversations with journalists are just some of the events planned.  We cannot forget that freedom of expression includes freedom of musical expression; the world needs to sing, dance, and share, not fade into the sound of silence.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to offer a guest post on music and censorship, let us know in email or a comment below.


Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo credit: Deeyah & FreeMuse

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

2 comments

+ add your own
1:25PM PST on Mar 12, 2011

Music is good for the soul. I am happy to learn that Deeyah was able to join FreeMuse, and that 'Listen to the Banned' has been such a hit.
Congratulations Deeyah for overcoming so much intimidation and abuse, and keeping what was in your heart.

11:09PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Music is the universal language. My good friend who is in school for music said to me during the Haitian Earthquake music telethon," Music always brings people together doesn't it?"

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.