List of events on Music Freedom Day 2017


This year Music Freedom Day is taking place in a number of cities such as Copenhagen, Dakar, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kabul, Milan, Nairobi, New York, Oslo, Peshawar, Rabat, Yangon, and more…

We will continue to update you on the events on and around Music Freedom Day. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights of this year’s Music Freedom Day events:


Norway-SyrianPrayers-277Art Under Threat – Women in Music @ By:Larm Festival

Killings, imprisonments, abductions, attacks, persecutions, prosecutions, detainments, censoring… This year SafeMUSE is collaborating with music festival By:Larm in Oslo on Music Freedom Day by a conversation with Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director – who after two decades in the forefront fighting for musicians right to free expression he is now stepping back.

The session will also feature a presentation of the Freemuse annual statistics on censorship and attacks on artistic freedom 2016.


» See the extended Music Freedom Day program here:


Senegal-2_277Africulturban once again partners up for Music Freedom Day, which for the 2017 edition will take place over two days 3-4 March at Institut Cervantes, Dakar, as part of Urban Women Week.

Friday 3 March presents a screening of the film ‘Brooklyn’ and a storytelling session with the female rapper Fatim Sy and tv-hostess Maimouna Back Again about ‘Women in Musical Instruction’ and an exchange with the public. There will also be a live acoustic session with Mamy Cruz, Coumbis Sora, Jb and DJ sets by DJ Zeyna & DJ Nina.

Saturday 4 March sees a major line-up for a concert with 10 female singers, rap artists and dancers.


MFD-Pakistan_277The role of women in music is being highlighted in Swat valley, where all music was strictly forbidden by the Taliban. Over 500 music shops were shut down and female performers were brutally attacked.

As long time partners of Music Freedom Day, Takhleeq-TDF presents the impressive program which will highlight the importance of freedom to express music, the right to attend concerts and especially for women to perform.

The programme will feature a number of prominent singers and different speakers will talk about ‘role of women in music’, post conflict cultural narrative of swat and freedom of artistic expression, and bring back music to swat and reclaim public space where it was banned and brutally attacked. A visual presentation of victim artists of the region will also be screened.

» Facebook page:


Kenya-MFD-flyer_277Music Freedom Day will for the first time be celebrated in Nairobi, arranged by Turning Tables Kenya.

The programme starts at 6pm and features an impressive line-up of all-female performers; singers, mc’s, dj’s and spoken-word artists as well as a discussion and interviews with the artists and audience on What music freedom means, what challenges are faced by female artists in the industry and censorship themes such as; stage names, political instigation and creative licenses.

The artists are Naylan, Hansy, Alison Wanjiku, Acey Gracey and Max, spoken word poetess and hip hop artist, moderated by Carrolyn Njeri.

DJ Miss Ray will be serving the musical backdrop from 7pm followed by a concert with author and rapper MC Sharon, songstress Monitah, alternate and easy listening singer Neo-soulZikki Valentine, singer and poetess Bua, and afro-fusion singer Muchemi.

» You can watch a number of videos from the upcoming performers on the Facebook event page


MFD-Maroc_277Freemuse partner Racines celebrates for the second time Music Freedom Day in Morocco on 3 March 2017 at Le Bistrot du Pietri, Rabat, by organising a debate followed by a concert.

The debate will start at 7pm on the theme ‘Female artists and freedom of artistic expression and creation’ with the participation of Naima Zitan (theatre director, Théâtre Aquarium), Noor (dancer), Dounia Benslimane (Racines), and the facilitation of Sara Soujar (gender activist).

The concert will start at 9pm with the Loon band au féminin. Free entrance.

Racines is a Moroccan non-profit organisation advocating for the integration of culture into public, human, social and economic development policies, in Morocco and throughout Africa.


Myanmar_600For the very first time Music Freedom Day will be organised with a concert in Myanmar at the Kandaw Gyi Park, Mini–Zoo, by Turning Tables Myanmar, where they will open the space to see and feel the music and freedom of expression and for all without fees.

Starts 6:30pm. Ends 9:30pm. This year, the focus is on women and music freedom.

The artists performing are all female, and consist of Gabriel, Myat Thit Sar, Raefonix: Gang The House, Rachel Tayza, Mai Kimmy, Maze of Mara, The Myth and Y.A.K. The artists will perform three songs each and sharing their experiences in the music industry as women, five minutes each. Free entrance.

» Facebook event page


In 2017, the first Afghan female orchestra Zohra was awarded with the Freemuse award in Geneva. The Seventh Gala Concert of ANIM, which took place in Kabul, was dedicated to Music Freedom Day and was received by a standing ovation at Bayat Media Centre in Arian TV.

» See the BBC photo report in Persian acknowledging the dedication of the concert to the Music Freedom Day on


This year Italy sees two Music Freedom Day events.

The longtime partner of Music Freedom Day Italy in Bologna returns for its sixth edition of Music Freedom Day and are marking the day by the meeting of the freedom of ideas, words, sounds and people in the world, against all forms of censorship to culture

This year’s event will be dedicated to all the musicians and censored artists and features a long line-up of poets and musicians as well as a video conference and live streaming at 6pm (GMT+1) with:
El Haqed / L7a9ed (rapper), Freedom of Expression Awards 2015 (Morocco-Belgium)
Mark LeVine: professor, musician, activist, historian (‘Heavy Metal Islam’, Irvine University, USA)
Tilia Korpe: coordinator for Music Freedom Day, female DJ and cultural activist (Denmark)
Organised by Reda Zine

Furthermore, a poetry-music-theatre-concert meetings of:
Brazzo Brazzone (Hannover) in collaboration with ‘Bologna Unesco Creative City of Music’
Mumble Rumble
Great Batucada Mestre Venice
Laboratory Social Afrobeat
Ri-cultural animation: C.A.T. Company Art Traumatic

» See the full programme on this Facebook event page

» Facebook page:

Flygirls Milano, hosted by Vaitea, presents a Ladies First Jam and MC’s Track Contest, with a large programme consisting of music, rap, DJ and dance performances as well as live graffiti and a track contest all by women.

At 9pm, Ladies First will host a discussion and debate on the theme of ‘The role of women in the music industry’ with guests: Katerfrancers, Janet Whistle, Ketty Passa, Comagatte, blackberries and as they express.

“This year our jam is twinned with the international event Music Freedom Day 2017, organised by Freemuse, an association that deals with the protection of freedom of expression for musicians worldwide. Their theme this year touched us very closely, and we want to support with our event all the women who fight and are likely to express themselves artistically, such as the Afghan rapper Paradise Sorouri.”

Free entry, donations welcome.

» Facebook event page


In Copenhagen, Music Freedom Day will be celebrated at Kimia, Blågårdsgade 2A, between 6-9pm and features a line-up of diverse and interesting female musicians.

The concert is dedicated to the global freedom to express, play and listen to music without fear of repercussions and features the all female line-up of:
Tanja Schlander (Noise music), Mikkeline & Fluxy Fox (Avantgarde noise rock), Dj Frk Skov (Vinyl DJ), Skyggesiden and DJ KCL (Hip Hop), as well as the Iranian poet Shadi Angelina Bazeghi.

Free entrance.

» An updated list

» Facebook event page


SOUTH AFRICA – Musif Freedom Day festical to take place in Constitution Hill

Posted on February 24, 2017 at 13:11 by Freemuse · Permalink · Comments Closed
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Music Freedom Day posters – 2017

FLY-ER-__Italy-Milan_277    Italy_MFD-flyer-small_277 Kenya-MFD-flyer_277    MFD-Maroc_277 MFD-Pakistan_277    MFD-Pakistan-2_277 Norway-SyrianPrayers-277    Senegal-2_277 MFD-Pakistan-horizontal_600


Posted on February 24, 2017 at 07:43 by Freemuse · Permalink · Comments Closed
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Listen to forbidden female voices

» To listen, go to




Did you know that…
Women are banned from singing in public in some countries?
Women cannot attend a concert in some places?
The music industry is still unequal?

This is why Freemuse is focusing on women on Music Freedom Day on 3 March 2017


In Saudi Arabia and Iran, women performers are not allowed to sing solo or play instruments in public. In north-western Pakistan, women singers have been killed and attacked, and in several countries women performers are socially, culturally and economically marginalised. Globally, women musicians face especially difficult conditions and are often subject to industry discrimination, sexual objectification and significantly less bookings than male musicians.

This year’s Spotify Playlist features female voices that have been silenced. Make them heard by sharing this playlist and you automatically support Music Freedom Day.



Aziza Brahim: ‘Buscando La Paz’   The authorities in Morocco censor her music because her songs are addressing the cause of the Sahrawi people in West Sahara who have been tortured, killed, or reported missing during the conflict that has driven hundreds of thousands Sahrawis into neighbouring Algeria. Read more on

Sarah Jones featuring DJ Vadim: ‘Your Revolution’   The Oregon radio station, KBOO-FM, was fined $7,000 by the FCC for playing a song with “unmistakable patently offensive sexual references”, in which Sarah Jones references the iconic Gil-Scott Heron song with the message “You Revolution will not happen between these thighs”. Read more on

Helly Luv: ‘Revolution’   Kurdish singer Helly Luv, 25, allegedly received death threats from ISIS Islamist militants since release of her first music video in February 2014. Read more on

Rim Banna: ‘Sarah’   Palestinian singer who was not allowed to enter Egypt for concert. Read more on

Dixie Chicks: ‘Not Ready To Make Nice’   This top selling band received death threats and where banned by hundreds of radio stations following a critical remark on President Bush (and the war on Iraq) at a concert in London in 2003. The band was silenced but returned triumphantly in 2006 with this song. Read more on

Souad Massi: ‘Bladi’   She is the exiled voice of Algeria. The Algerian singer and guitarist’s music was banned in Algeria which she fled in 1999 and now lives in Paris. Read more on

Mahsa Vahdat & Mighty Sam McClain: ‘Silent song’   Women are not allowed to perform solo in Iran. Mahsa Vahdat has established a career outside Iran, but is never played in Iran. Read more on

Lucrecia: ‘La Noche de la Iguana’   Lucrecia left Cuba for Spain and is not allowed to return to the country. The reason? This song ‘La Noche de la Iguana’ (The Night Of The Iguana) – a freedom anthem from the album ‘Censuré à Cuba’. Read more on

• [Freemuse Spotlight – by Comrade Fatso]

Pussy Riot: ‘Keep on Rocking In the Free World’   Imprisoned for protesting against Vladimir Putin, Pussy Riot can not perform on regular stages in Russia neither would state controlled media play this song). Read more on

I.A: ‘Paper Planes’   Censored by MTV due to gunshots in the rhythm. Read more on

Amy Winehouse: ‘Rehab’   Winehouse was banned twice from performing in the US. Read more on

Billie Holiday: ‘Strange Fruit’   Fearing the reaction of southern music retailers and the affiliates of the Columbia Records/CBS-owned radio stations, Columbia Records refused to allow her to record the song that was originally inspired by a photograph and news story about lynching in the South. After some negotiating, an arrangement was worked out between Columbia Records and the independent label; Commodore Records. The song was also banned from several radio stations in the US. Read more on and

Maryam Mursal: ‘Somali Udiida Ceb’   Mursal made her living as a musical taxi driver, because she was banned from performing. She was taken in to custody, questioned by police, because her song ulimada is said to contain a devastating critique of the regime. Source: Ole Reitov, From diva to driver, in: Index of Censorship ‘Smashed Hits’ Volume 27 6/1998, p.74.

Chiwoniso Maraire: ‘Zvichapera’   Originally a strong supporter of President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms in Zimbabwe, Chiwoniso Maraire started openly criticizing the lack of competence, the increasing corruption and lack of free speech. After experiencing interrogations by the police, she decided to leave Zimbabwe in 2007. Read more on

Madonna: ‘Justify My Love’   MTV banned the music video because it contained scenes of sadomasochism, homosexuality, cross-dressing, and group sex. Read more on and

Kamilya Jubran (with Werner Hasler): ‘Al-Shaatte’ Al-Akhar’   Lead singer of Palestinian music group Sabreen representing the voice of resistance and struggle for freedom, Jubran went and created a new style of a modern Arabic song. As any other Palestinian artist carrying an Israeli passport, she is limited in her freedom of movement and in the distribution of her music. Read more on

Hang on the box: ‘I am not sexy’   The girl punk band were forced to pull out of the NEW WORLD DISORDER TOUR after the Chinese government deemed their music as “inappropriate”. They were forced to cancel their scheduled dates after the government denied the band visas to travel. Read more on

Alanis Morissette: ‘Ironic’   After the 9/11 attack in New York, a list of 160 “lyrically inappropriate” songs is supposed to have been distributed to 1,200 radio stations in the US. This song is one of them. You can find the list here:

Deeyah: ‘Pashto Lullaby’   Deeyah stopped her career as a singer having been attacked and received threats on her. Read more on

Tracy Chapman: ‘Freedom Now’   Two songs – ‘Freedom Now’ and ‘Material World’ – were considered undesirable by the censorship committee of South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC. Read more on

» To listen, go to

» Read more about Music Freedom Day on

Posted on February 22, 2017 at 12:30 by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Comments Closed
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Music Freedom Day 2017 in celebration and protection of WOMEN’S VOICES


Did you know that
Women are banned from singing in public in some countries
Women cannot attend a concert in some places
The music industry is still unequal

⇒ This is why Freemuse is focusing on women on Music Freedom Day on 3 March 2017

In Saudi Arabia and Iran women performers are not allowed to sing solo or play instruments in public. In north-western Pakistan women singers have been killed and attacked, and in several countries women performers are socially, culturally and economically marginalised and even considered prostitutes.

Globally women musicians face especially difficult conditions and are often subject to industry discrimination, sexual objectification and significantly less bookings than male musicians.

On 3 March 2017 Music Freedom Day makes a special focus on women performers and musicians.

Initiated by Freemuse, Music Freedom Day events are organised by local artists, event organisers, broadcasters, journalists and activists. They will highlight the role of women in music – either by creating events focused on women in music, showing solidarity with censored women artists or by creating programmes consisting mostly of female performers.

Freemuse recently presented the Freemuse Award to Zohra, the first ever women’s orchestra in Afghanistan. In a video statement concertmaster Marjan Fidaee said: “I support Music Freedom Day because I love music, and I want to open the door for other girls to play music.”

Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director, added: “Zohra has inspired so many young women in Afghanistan and proved that women can fight back against discrimination and negative preconceptions.”

In 2016, Freemuse registered 1,028 attacks on artists and violations of their rights across 78 countries, continuing a worrying trend of artistic freedom increasingly coming under threat. Music was the art form that suffered the most serious violations of artistic freedom in 2016.

Music Freedom Day events will take place in Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, UAE, USA, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Spain and more.


Join MFD on 3 March by sharing an article, a censored song or by making a statement. Find out how at:

» Press release – PDF for A4 print:


Posted on February 16, 2017 at 04:04 by Freemuse · Permalink · Comments Closed
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Music Freedom Day’s was celebrated in more than 50 countries earlier this year. This was also the year celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Music Freedom Day. Once again, we would like to thank you all for your energy, dedication and support.

In a few months, on Friday 3 March 2017, Music Freedom Day will again highlight the ongoing need to fight against oppression and censorship and carry forward expressions of support of every person’s right to music and to freedom of artistic expression.

We hope that you will join Music Freedom Day in 2017.

As usual, we will be happy to provide input and letters of support.

Music Freedom Day must erupt from local experiences and matters that you feel are important to address. Freemuse has often suggested that participants could focus on a particular issue. In previous years we’ve for instance suggested focus on Mali, support for Pussy Riot, and Lapiro de Mbanga.

This year we would suggest as one of the possible focus areas to highlight the situation of women artists, who are particularly discriminated in many countries.

Music Freedom Day exists as long as you are organising concerts, events, radio programs, seminars, film screenings, etc.

For those of you considering taking part, this is also the time to start looking for local funding opportunities – embassies, development organisations, artists’ organisations, etc. So please send us an email about your ideas, questions or plans.


Posted on October 21, 2016 at 11:36 by Freemuse · Permalink · Comments Closed
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