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 · Leave a comment
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This year, Music Freedom Day commemorated the victims of the attack at the Bataclan Club in Paris in November 2015. It was a day for everyone fighting for human rights such as the right to perform and listen to music and to do so without any fear.

As an annual, global event, Music Freedom Day is a powerful, united manifestation to support persecuted, prosecuted and imprisoned musicians, many of whose only crime has been that they have spoken up against authorities and insisted on the right to express themselves through their music.

It is a day to highlight the role and impact of music in our societies. Worldwide, musicians’ and composers’ rights to freedom of expression are being violated. Join us on 3 March 2017!

Music is a human right and so is the right to access music events without fear.

Reports from around the world on Music Freedom Day 2016

Global | GermanyHungary | Italy | Netherlands | Norway | Pakistan | Senegal | Spain | Sweden | Turkey | USA |


‘From Zombies to Revolutionaries’

Freemuse presents the music video for a unique track with a group of today’s most powerful Arab and Iranian revolutionary artists joining together to cover Fela Kuti’s most powerful political song, ‘Zombie’.

» More information about this collaboration and of the music video


Special song recorded exclusively for broadcasters for Music Freedom Day

Background to the recording

A special audio track featuring Mali’s Songhoy Blues with special guests is available to broadcasters worldwide upon request. Recorded by Mark LeVine, the group has made a new version of one of Fela Kuti’s most famous grooves ‘Shakara’, with new lyrics written by the band riffing off the original’s condemnation of the rich Nigerians who showed off their wealth as so many suffered in grinding poverty. Songhoy Blues’ version of ‘Shakara’ takes Fela’s Afrobeat in a new, Malian-driven direction.

Songhoy Blues is also featured in the documentary ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First – Malian Music in Exile’, which was released in the USA as part of Music Freedom Day.

Details about the song:

Name of song: Shakara

Composers: Fela Kuta, Songhoy Blues, Mark LeVine

Lyrics: Fela Kuti, Songhoy Blues

Artists: Songhoy Blues

Production Company – Produced by, Songhoy Blues, Mark LeVine, Manjul, Reda Zine and Anton Pukshansky

Recorded in: Bamako, January 31-February 1, 2016

For any broadcaster interested in airing this song, please contact Freemuse.


‘They Will Have To Kill Us First’ – malian music in exile

They Will have To Kill Us First  is a documentary about Malian music in exile, following musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music. As a part of Music Freedom Day, this film was screened and/or broadcasted in 55 countries around the world.

Press coverage from the launch event in New York:
» Okayafrica:

» Getty Images – Premiere Photos:

» WireIMAGE- Premiere Photos:



Funkhaus Europa

The radio broadcaster Funkhaus Europa did pay special attention to Music Freedom Day during its program throughout the day. Interviews with the pianist from Jarmouk, Aehman Ahmad, and Turkish-Kurdish Singer/Songwriter Ferhat Tunc was at the core of Music Freedom Day in Funkhaus Europa’s show Dschungelfieber. They represent the value and potential of music in hard times. Two of their own kind, dedicated to humanity and culture on an extraordinary level of exposure and braveness.

» More information here: Funkhaus Europa

Jülich – near Cologne

Kultur ohne Grenzen (Culture without Borders) – a German organisation which supports artists in exile did a Music Freedom Day event on 20 March 2016 in Jülich near Cologne.

At the cultural centre Kulturbahnhof the following musicians performed:

In cooperation with Kultur im Bahnhof, Jülich.

» Summary/report in German language: Music Freedom Day – So ein Konzert hat es hier noch nicht gegeben


Bakelit Multi Art Center

MFD 2016 Budapest

On 3 March 2016, at the Bakelit Multi Art Centre in Budapest, there was an event taking place in support of Music Freedom Day. As a part of the event there were concerts, dance impros and DJ sets taking place. The programme was free, but everyone who wanted to was able to buy supporter’s tickets at the venue.


• Nagyvilág! Cru
• Demény Gergely
• Flow In
• Johnny K Palmer
• Song-Óra
• Dure Holiday
• Dj Waxman

More information about the event:
» Bakelit Multi Art Centre official web page
» Official Facebook event


music freedom day italy

Music Freedom Day Italy

On 5 March 2016, a music, poetry and arts festival took place in Bologna. It was organised by Associazione Culturale il Mostro, Associazione Culturale Bo Ground, Hibrido Radio and Laboratorio Sociale Afrobeat.


» For more information, visit: and the Facebook-event

Radio Città del Capo

On Radio Città del Capo on 29 February 2016 at 8pm to 9pm CET Mauro Cicchetti of Balangandà radio show interviewed Cinzia Martelli of Hibrido Association, Serenella Gatti Linares of Bo Ground association and Reda Zine of Freemuse about Music Freedom Day and the live performances that was dedicated to Music Freedom Day during Saturday 5 March 2016 in Bologna.



Rasa Utrecht, Amsterdam

On Sunday 21 February 2016, the public broadcast television programme VPRO/Vrije Geluiden advocated for Music Freedom Day through a special item on the Ensemble Qasyon, mainly comprised by the two (minor) sisters Jawa & Shaza Manla from Syria playing ud, vox and qanun respectively. All this as a call to attend World Music Forum NL’s monthly World Blend Cafe to be celebrated on 2 March 2016 at Rasa Utrecht and fully dedicated to the Freemuse goals.

The eveningpresented a panel discussion between Mrs Laura Hassler, director of Musicians Without Borders,
Mr Roelof Wittink, director of the Catching Cultures Orchestra and Emiel Barendsen, former director of Tropentheater Amsterdam and president of the Advisory Council World Music

Publicist and presenter Mr Stan Rijven hosted the event and of course the Syrian sisters Jawa & Shaza Manla accompanied this time by the Ornina Ensemble performed for a live audience.

» More information on and





The Harstad Conference on Freedom of Artistic Expression
The Harstad Music Freedom Night
2-3 March 2016

Presented by SafeMUSE – Safe Music Havens Initiative – in close collaboration with the City of Harstad and Culture Troms, Troms County Council.

Partners and funders: Freemuse, Deeyah Khan – Fuuse AS, Harstad Concert Hall, Finnish Musicians Union, HIAP – Nordic Fresh Air Network, Perpetuum Mobile, NOPA – Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists, Norwegian Society of Composers, MFO – Norwegian Musicians Union, Samspill International Music Network, Nordic Black Theatre, SKAP – Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, City of Malmö – Culture Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Norway, Nordic Culture Point.

• Annual international gathering and networking event
• Celebrating freedom of artistic expression
• Inspiring safe residencies and placements of persecuted artists and artists at risk
• Showcasing the work of guest artists
• 2016 focusing on art and activism

More information at:

Music Freedom Day 2016 at Kulturkirken Jakob


Three young Iranian musicians, invisible in their home country, did perform on 3 March at Kulturkirken Jakob in Oslo with classical Iranian poetry and music. The event was an cooperation between Oslo World Music Festival and Kulturkirken jakob and the three singers performing were:




Cultural Journalist Forum (CJF)

In Pakistan, The Cultural Journalist Forum ( CJF) and Takhleeq Development Foundation (TDF) jointly organised an event in Peshawar, at Spring Village for Music Freedom Day, on 3 March 2016. Music Freedom Day was through this, celebrated in all KP districts as district’s coordinators had been directed to invite local singers and artists to perform.



» More information about the event here 




Association Africulturban organised an event on 5 March 2016.

MUSIC-FREEDOM-DAY-senegal 2016 (2)



Les Rutes del So

The Catalan radio journalist Albert Reguant (for the ninth year collaborating in Music Freedom Day) within the radio program Les Rutes del So (The Routes of Sound) at the radio station Radio Ona Sants Montjüic focused on Music Freedom Day in his radio program.

“For this special program we have a selection of musical artists who have been censored or have their works censored, who have been exiled, or who are, or have been, victims of the silence of the media in their respective countries.

This year the song ‘Revolution’ stands out, composed by the young singer, actress and Kurdish model HELLY LUV (Helen Abdulla), also promoter of NGOs helping the people of Kurdistan.

Beside her: The Syrian protest singer GHARIB, the Greek singer ALKISTIS PROTOPSALTI, and the icon of the Turkish protest song, SELDA BAGCAN, as a tribute to refugees who have died dramatically in the Aegean Sea.

The music of Iraq, AHMED MUKHTAR. The Israeli musician YAIR DALAL, and RIM BANNA singer Palestine, two artists that are positioned to dialogue, peace and harmony in their respective countries. The French singer FRANCIS LALANNE and songwriter young Tunisian, EMIL MATHOUTHI, as a tribute to the innocent victims of the recent cruel attacks that have occurred in these two countries.

Finally, the popular Catalan singer LLUIS LLACH, one of the many Catalan songwriters marginalized today in various public radio & tv stations in the Spanish state.”

» The program was broadcasted on Tuesday 1 March 2016.




Linnaeus University


Music and Event Management together with Linnaeus Univeristy in Kalmar, was this year a part of Music Freedom Day.

On 16 February 2016, a guest lecture with Ole Reitov from Freemuse was held in Kalmar for the students at the Linnaeus University. The theme for the lecture was what music censorship is, how Freemuse works, about Music Freedom Day and how people within the music business can work with these questions about freedom of expression and music censorship.
Mejeriet MFD


The concert venue and culture house Mejeriet in Lund, Sweden, highlighted Music Freedom Day on social media.




Picknickfestivalen, a festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, focusing on cultural diversity and community, organised a music café on 3 March 2016 to highlight Music Freedom Day and artistic freedom.

Two bands where playing: Skamvrån and Nathan Aeli.


» More information about this event


Radio AF

Radio AF is one of the biggest student radios in Sweden and on 3 March 2016 they dedicated time to Music Freedom Day on the radio, during a special radio show where censored music and artists was the focus and interviews and discussions about the subject was held.

Radio AF special MFD

» At the radio station’s web page you are able to listen to the podcast and find out more.


Re:Orient has during the years been organising concerts, performances, lectures and seminars with a focus on contemporary issues and the relations between East and West, tradition and modernity. For Music Freedom Day 2016, Re:Orient screened two movies at Klarabiografen in Stockholm on 3 March:

First, the movie ‘Beats of The Antonov” » More information

Then, the movie ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First’ » More information


Scandinavian Soul

3 March 2016, Scandinavian Soul is organising Scandinavian Soul Music Awards at Kulturhuset in Stockholm.

During this event they celebrated all the wonderful soul music from Scandinavia and also gave attention to the importance of music and the possibility we have to, through music, reflect the times we live in. Music Freedom Day and what it stands for was highlighten in the opening speach.


Sveriges Radio

Sveriges Radio – the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation – and the program P2 Världen, a radio show focusing on music from everywhere around the world, has been a part of Music Freedom Day for many years. They were a part of the day this year as well, highlighting Music Freedom Day on and around 3 March 2016 at the radio show.



The Swedish podcast Tondöv was addressing censorship and freedom of expression, sexism and rasism as a part of Music Freedom Day. They also interviewed Emelie Draper at Hårdrock Mot Rasism and Victor Berg from the band New Keepers of the Water Towers about the subject.

Tondöv podcast

You can listen to the podcast here.



In Turkey, the Museum of Crimes of Thought – – marked Music Freedom Day:

The surroundings of the (online) museum reflects the actual life in Turkey. On Musical Freedom Day, the museum had a special guest, Troubadourix from the Asterix cartoons, as usual tied tightly, with his mouth strapped, and left under a tree.


KCSC Radio
Chico, California

KCSC  is a Radio Station in association with students at the California State University in Chico. During their radio program Bitter Swedes they were a part of Music Freedom Day 2016.

The show was aired on February 29.


Film premiere: They Will Have To Kill Us First – Malian music in exile

As a part of Music Freedom Day, BBC World Wide North America released the documentary on 4 March 2016 at Village East Cinema in New York and on 1 April at Laemmle Monica Film Center in Los Angeles.

They Will Have To Kill Us First NYC

Posted on March 4, 2016 at 10:00 by Freemuse · Permalink · Comments Closed
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Music Freedom Day 2016 coverage

Music Freedom Day was held March 3 all over the world.
Here are some highlights.



» Songlines – United Kingdom:
Sharp rise in attacks on musicians worldwide in 2015

» Music in Africa Magazine:
New Version Felas Zombie Unites Artists Africa And Middle East

» Music in Africa Magazine:
Malian documentary to be screened on Music Freedom Day


» NRK Troms – The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Norway:
Distriktsprogram Troms · Morgensending Live interview with Freemuse campaign officer Magnus Ag. “Vi skal høre direkte fra forberedelsene til Music Freedom Day i kulturhuset i Harstad…”

» NRK Troms – The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Norway:
Aldri før har angrepene på musikere vært større: Musikk er fremtidens våpen


» Harstad Tidende – Norway:
Musikk er fremtidens våpen

» Harstad Tidende – Norway:
Musikk er et kraftig våpen

» – Argentina:
3 de Marzo – Día de la Libertad Musical

» Notes from the Cuban exile Quarter – Cuba:
Music Freedom Day 2016: Cuban music still censored by regime in 2016


Coverage of Music Freedom Day events

» Freemuse: Music Freedom Day in Pakistan: Call for cultural policy


Bulletins, pre-promotion and other

» European Parliament News:
Music Freedom Day: music as a human right

» Amnesty International:
Iran: Tortured filmmaker and musicians face imminent arrest amid crackdown on artists

» Entertainment Rocks:
‘They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile’ opens in U.S. just in time for Music Freedom Day 2016

» – The Netherlands:
Music Freedom Day: Vier de vrijheid van muziek

» National Coalition Against Censorship – USA:
Music Freedom Day in New York

» Musikkultur – Norway:
Helsvart år for kunstneres ytringsfrihet

» SBO Magazine:
‘They Will Have To Kill Us First’ Opens In North America In Conjunction With Music Freedom Day 2016

» Meeting Degli Indipendenti – Italy:
Torna il Music Freedom Day Italy a Bologna

» The Frontier Post – Pakistan:
Music Freedom Day on March 3

» Radio Tribal News Network – Pakistan:
Music freedom day observed in Peshawar

» Music For Good – USA:
Music Freedom Day Honors Victims of Paris Attacks & Celebrates Freedom of Speech Through Music

» News Ghana – Ghana:
AfriDocs Celebrates Music Freedom Day On March

» Notes from the Cuban exile Quarter – Cuba:
Musicians unite in defence of artistic freedom

» Screen Africa – South Africa:
AfriDocs presents Celebrate Music Freedom Day

» Pakistan Coalition on Media Safety – Pakistan:
Musicians unite in defence of artistic freedom

» Nordic Black Theatre – Norway:
NBT gratulerer med MUSIC FREEDOM DAY!

» Mejeriet – Sweden:
Music Freedom Day – Musik är en mänsklig rättighet

» Nû – Denmark:
Musikere foren jer og forsvar den kunstneriske frihed

» Pakistan Press Foundation – Pakistan:
Musicians unite in defence of artistic freedom

» NRK TV – Norway:
Distriktsnyheter Nordnytt




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Posted on March 4, 2016 at 09:01 by Johanna Anemalm · Permalink · Leave a comment
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The Music Freedom Day playlist 2016


To highlight censored songs and artists throughout history, Music Freedom Day presents a playlist of 60 songs – available on Spotify – that highlights the theme of the event.

This year, Music Freedom Day reaches out to the global digital community through Spotify with a powerful message defending artistic freedom of expression for musicians.

Listen to the playlist and spread the word! It only takes a few clicks to share and become part of Music Freedom Day!

The playlist contains 60 songs from artists around the world who have had their songs censored, or have themselves been banned from practicing their art. To learn more about these artists and their diverse struggles to freely express themselves see the full list of songs below.

Listen to Music Freedom Day 2016!

          1. Alanis Morissette – Ironic 
            After 9/11, 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:
          2. The Kingsmen – Louie Louie
            This song was banned from several radio stations in the US and subjected to a 31-month investigation by the FBI. All because some teens somewhere started a rumor that the words singer Jack Ely was howling were about an explicit sexual encounter.  In 1964, Indiana Governor Matthew Welsh attempted to ban the song for fear of it containing obscene messages, but after review by the FCC, the agency determined that the lyrics are indecipherable. Sources: and

          3. Didier Awadi – Ma Révolution
            Awadi is one of Africa´s most respected and outspoken artists who criticizes politicians and corruption. But he also talks openly about self-censorship and admits that there is a fine line between what is important and what is unacceptable to talk about – sex and religion. Source:

          4. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
            Radio 1s DJ Mike Read objecting to the songs saucy artwork and lyrics refused to play the track during the chart rundown. The BBC then banned the song from radio and TV. Sources: and

          5. Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2
            Banned in South Africa when it became a protest song during Apartheid. It was used as a metaphor for the difference in quality of education received by white students and black students. Sources: and

          6. 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. Sources:  and
          7. Deeyah – Pashto Lullaby
            Deeyah stopped her career as a singer having been attacked and received threats on her. Source:
          8. Michael Jackson – They Don’t Care About Us
            Following protests considering the song “anti-semitic,” Jackson changed the lyrics. Source: 
          9. Femi Kuti – Beng Beng Beng
            The outspoken and direct lyrics of this song caused turmoil in Femi Kuti’s home country, Nigeria. The government controlled National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, banned the title track from airplay claiming that its lyrics are offensive and capable of corrupting youth innocence. Source: 
          10. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows
            Considered “blasphemic” this song from their album, Pet Sounds, was forbidden in some parts of the US. Even without any negative connotation, it was considered unacceptable by many religious groups during the 60’s to use the word “God” in a non religious song. Source: 
          11. The Byrds – Eight Miles High
            This song, considered to encourage drug use, was banned from radio play on several radio stations in the US. Source: 
          12. 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 sing. Source: 
          13. The Who – My Generation
            The BBC banned the song from the airwaves. This might have been due to Roger Daltrey’s stuttering of some lines, but it could also have been because the content of the stuttering “Why don’t you all fff… fade away” and therefore could have referred to another similar f- word. Source: and 
          14. Thomas Mapfumo – Ndanzwa Ngoma Kurira
            Mapfuma went into exile having been harassed and marginalized in Zimbabwe. Source: 
          15. Amy Winehouse – Rehab
            Winehouse was banned twice from performing in the US. Source: 
          16. The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
            Two songs from the 1967 Sgt.Pepper album were banned from BBC airwaves: “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life” as they were thought to encourage drug use. Sources: and 
          17. 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. Source: 
          18. Marcel Khalife – Oh My Father, I Am Yusif
            Khalife was accused of blasphemy and under heavy attack in Lebanon because the lyrics of this song included a verse from the Qur’an. A court decided later that the use in this particular song could not be considered “blasphemy”. Source: 
          19. Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
            Named as lyrically inappropriate by several radio US stations after 9/11. Source: 
          20. Nena – 99 Luftballons
            Named as lyrically inappropriate after 9/11 in the US. Source: 
          21. Roger Lucy – Storms and Fires
            Roger Lucy’s music was banned during Apartheid in South Africa and a security police engaged in covert activity to silence him and his music. Source: 
          22. Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
            In 2011, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council deemed this song unsuitable for airplay. The reason was frontman Mark Knopfler’s use of a gay slur in the second verse. Sources: and 
          23. Kartellen – Mina Områden
            This Swedish band criticized for glorifying a life of crime and violence has had several concerts in Sweden cancelled. Another song called “Svarta duvor och Vissna liljor” recorded by Kartellen together with Swedish artist Timbuktu may only be played in Public Radio when followed by a comment which put the lyrics into perspective. Source: 
          24. Tiken Jah Fakoly – L’Africain
            Fakolys song Quitte Le Pouvoir has become an African anthem against political corruption. In 2003 he was forced into exile in Mali after a song which sampled speeches of a general who took over power. The song reminded people of all promises that were never kept. Source: 
          25. Tracy Chapman – Freedom Now
            Two songs – “Freedom Now” and “Material World”, were considered undesirable by the censorship committee of South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Source: 
          26. Janis Joplin – Me and Bobby McGee
            This was a mega hit for Joplin. But she also provoked and was fined US $200 for violating local profanity and obscenity laws for her performance after a concert in Tampa, Florida. Source: 
          27. Junoon – Open Your Eyes
            The band got into trouble when its members protested against the nuclear bomb tests of Pakistan and India. The band was denied the right to perform for a long period in Pakistan. Source: 
          28. 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.  Source: 
          29. The Au Pairs – Armagh
            Distributors in Northern Ireland refused to handle the album because of this song adressing the poor treatment of women in prisons in Northern Ireland. Read more: Banned! Censorship of Popular Music in Britain: 1967-92, by Martin Cloonan and The Lost Women Of Rock: Female Musicians Of The Punk Era, by Helen Reddington.
          30. M.I.A – Paper Planes
            Censored by MTV due to gunshots in the rythm. Source: 
          31. Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight
            Named as lyrically inappropriate after 9/11 in the US. Source: 
          32. Rim Banna – Sarah
            Palestinian singer who was not allowed to enter Egypt for concert. Source: 
          33. Bob Marley – Buffalo Soldier
            This song was advised not to be played by broadcasters in the UK during the Gulf War. Read more: Banned! Censorship of Popular Music in Britain: 1967-92, by Martin Cloonan and 
          34. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Radio, Radio
            In 1977, they where going to perform on ‘Saturday Night Live’. Costello wanted to play this song but was not allowed, since it “presented anti-media feelings”.  Sources:  and 
          35. Ferhat Tunç – Ma Ci Di
            He is a spokesperson for Kurdish rights and his songs are censored by the National Turkish Radio and Television. The state runs several cases against him. Source: 
          36. Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction
            The song was banned by many US radio stations – many of them in the South – because programmers disagreed with its ‘ugly view of humanity’. Source: The song was also listed as lyrically inappropriate after 9/11 in the US. Source: 
          37. Matisyahu – One Day
            He was banned from playing at festival in Spain after he refused to make a statement outlining his position on Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Source: 
          38. The Police – Invisible Sun
            The song was banned by the BBC in 1981 because of its ’overtly political, Northern Ireland-inspired lyrics’. Source: 
          39. Rodríguez – Sugar Man
            Rodríquez gained huge popularity amongst white middle class youngsters in South Africa during Apartheid. His music was banned on national radio for lyrics dealing with sex and drugs. Source: 
          40. Fela Kuti – Zombie
            By the mid 1970’s, Fela Kuti began to critisize the Nigerian government and the general social decay. His music club was attacked by police and the regime made several attempts to silence him. Source: 
          41. Rosemary Clooney – Mambo Italiano
            The ABC network banned the song saying it did not meet the network’s “standards for good taste”. Source: 
          42. Victor Jara – Manifiesto
            Considered a strong spokesperson for the Chilean left wing Jara was arrested shortly after a US supported military coup led by general Augusto Pinochet in 1973. Jara was taken to a soccer stadium in Santiago where he was tortured and killed. Source: 
          43. Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
            The UN Special Committee Against Apartheid announced that anyone buying the album “Graceland” was violating the embargo on South Africa. Simon wished to promote the great black music tradition of South Africa and broke the cultural boycott, which not only affected the regime but even black artists preventing them access to the global market. In Popular Music Censorship in South Africa, ed: Michael Drewett and Martin Cloonan.
          44. Tom Robinson Band – Glad To Be Gay
            Originally written for a London pride parade, the song entered BBCs Top 40, but was banned from the airwaves. This did not prevent the song from becoming a gay anthem. Source: 
          45. Aziza Brahim (with Gulili Mankoo) – Regreso
            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.  Source: 
          46. Techung (with Dalai Lama, Lopez, Tyabji, Rodríguez and Mitchell) – Exile
            Forced into exile from Tibet because of his music. Source: 
          47. Lapiro De Mbanga – Over Done
            “The sheriff of the backyards” was addressing power abuse in Cameroon. He was imprisoned because of a song “Constitution Constipée” critisizing the President. Lapiro spent three years in prison and was later forced into exile due to threats. He died in 2014. Source: 
          48. Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone
            In 1968, a radio station in El Paso, Texas, banned all his records since the lyrics were ‘difficult to understand. Source: 
          49. The Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian
            Named as lyrically inappropriate after 9/11 in the US. Source: 
          50. 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. Source: 
          51. Lucrecia – La noche de la iguana
            She 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’. Source: 
          52. Haroon Bacha – Zama Zra Kawi Ghla Ganay
            Because of his messages of pluralism and peace, Bacha became a prime target of religious extremists in North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. In 2008, he was forced into exile due to threats on his life. Source: 
          53. Ramy Essam – Taty Taty
            Ramy Essam performed Irhal – the anthem of the Egyptian revolution, in front of hundreds of thousands of people at Tahrir Square in Egypt in 2011. He was severely tortured by the police but continued to address corruption and social injustice. His performances were banned. In 2015 he decided to leave Egypt and is currently hosted as visiting artist by Malmö city Council, Sweden. Source: 
          54. Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time
            Following complaints about the video of the song, several video channels dropped or restricted the music clip. Source: 
          55. Madonna – Justify My Love
            MTV banned the music video because it contained scenes of sadomasochism, homosexuality, cross-dressing, and group sex. Source:  and 
          56. Bobby Rush (with BlindDog Smokin’, Dr. John) – Another Murder in New Orleans
            State park officials in Kentucky un-invited blues singer Bobby Rush, because they feared his act was too sexually suggestive. Source: 
          57. 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. Source: 
          58. Sheryl Crow – Love Is A Good Thing
            The album was banned in Wal-Mart stores because of this song, which mentions children killing each other “with a gun they bought at the Wal-Mart discount stores”. Source: 
          59. Eagles Of Death Metal – Kiss the Devil
            Their concert at the Bataclan club in Paris in 2015 was attacked, leaving 89 people killed. Source: 
          60. Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World
            Named as lyrically inappropriate after 9/11 in the US. Source: 


Posted on March 3, 2016 at 09:10 by Johanna Anemalm · Permalink · Comments Closed
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