Events scheduled for Music Freedom Day 2015

Music Freedom Day on 3 March is established as an international day to celebrate freedom of expression and to demonstrate support for persecuted and threatened artists on the music stage worldwide.

Since the freedom of expression organisation Freemuse took the initiative in 2007, more than 100 partners in 36 countries have joined, and Music Freedom Day today is an important celebration of the freedom to create and to play music without intimidation or persecution.

The following events and activities in the pipeline for Music Freedom Day 2015 on 3 March:

Albert Reguant

Albert Reguant


• In Barcelona, Albert Reguant, director of Les Rutes del So (The Routes of Sound), Ona Sants Montjuïc de Barcelona, is collaborating with Freemuse around Music Freedom Day for the eight consecutive year. He will be broadcasting a special radio programme devoted to the theme of the day. The show is broadcasted live every Thursday night, but on this occasion it will be re-broadcast on 3 March.
“The show will highlight a selection of musicians 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 ‘Je suis Charly’ stands out. It was composed by French songwriter FRANCIS LALANNE. Also featured: a song Syrian-Kurdish musician GANI MIRZO. The disappeared Mexican group KOMBO KOLOMBIA, killed by drug traffickers. The duet composed of singer Egyptian RAMI ESSAM and the American singer MIGHTY SAM McCLAIN. Basque songwriter BENITO LERTXUNDI and songwriters of the Catalan countries, MARIA del MAR BONET and LLUIS LLACH, singers who are marginalised today in various public radio stations in the Spanish state. The program is produced and presented by Albert Reguant, internationally recognised specialist music journalist, member of the World Music Charts Europe, and of other international organisations.”

» Podcast:



• In Bologna, among the artists who will be present on Saturday 28 February 2015 at the Circle Bertasi Via Fioravanti for the 2015 edition of Music Freedom Day – at 4pm for the conference and at 9pm for the poetry and music performances – are: Davide Ferrari, Vincenzo Bagnoli, Sergio Rotino, Marinella Polidori, Antonietta Laterza, Pierfrancesco Pacoda, Silvia Parma, Ciavatti Othello, William Pagnozzi, Cico Giramundo, Gianluca Morozzi, Oderso Rubini, Nicola Bagnoli, Pino de March, Salvatore de Siena, Salvatore Panu, and others. Admission is free. Organised by Hibrido Radio with partners.




• In Casablanca, Roots in partnership with Freemuse is organising a series of activities to promote the right to artistic expression through music under the theme headline ‘Freedom is the solution’.
Location: Rialto Cinema, Casablanca.
18:30: Opening
19:00: Screening of ‘Free Word’ directed by Stéphane Le Gall-Viliker (2014)
20:00: Concert: Monza (Mauritania)
21:00: Debate
22:00: Concert: Barry Morocco (Morocco)

All age groups: 50 DHS
Students and under 25: 30 DHS

» Facebook event page



• In Harstad, Music Freedom Day will be marked with an international conference during the day and a concert in the evening. Artists who cannot express themselves freely in their homeland will meet Nordic and local musicians on the stage in Harstad Culture House.
Organisers: SafeMuse – Safe Havens Music Initiative in cooperation with Harstad Municipality, Culture in Troms and Harstad Culture House.

• In Oslo at Kulturkirken Jakob, a Redzone Music Freedom Day Concert is organised on 3 March at 7:30pm.
International Music Freedom Day, (Founded by Freemuse) featuring: Elias Akselsen, (Norway), Vahan Kerovpyan, Murat İçlinalça and Ashug Leyli (Armenia), Dengbej Kazo and Dengbej Gazin (Anatolia), Marjan Vahdat (Iran), Kamancheh: Shervin Mohajer (Iran), Drums: Rune Arnesen (Norway), Bass: Gjermund Silset (Norway)
Tickets: NOK 250
Hausmanns Gate 14



• Cultural Journalists Forum (CJF) plans to conduct a folk musical concert in Peshawar where folk singers from Fata and different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are invited to perform.

• Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation is organising the event ‘Don’t kill the song – Music Concert and Playing Documentaries’ on 3 March at 14:00 in Archives Hall, Peshawar
» Facebook event page

• Journalist Sher Alam Shinwari is working on a piece on the plight of cultural activities with special focus on music and musicians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.



• In Dakar, Africulturban celebrates the Music Freedom Day with an event about hip-hop, freedom of expression and censorship. The event takes place at the Goethe Institute starting from 4pm. Panelists: Zuman, Keyti, Fou Malade, and Bouba Sow. Free entry.

» Association Africulturban

United Kingdom

• Ulfah Arts has taken part in the Music Freedom Day event previously by doing a 24 hour broadcast. They will be doing this again for 2015. The broadcast will include artists, organisations, general public and people from around the world including Bangladesh, Bosnia and Egypt.




• The National Coalition Against Censorship, Freemuse and Spectrum present a listening party and live performance showcasing the work of at-risk, banned, and imprisoned musicians and composers from around the world. The event will take place on 3 March 2015 and will include a pre-premiere screening of an excerpt of ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First’, a documentary about the brutal suppression of music in Mali. Live performances will include Casualty Process, an electronic music project that originated in the Iranian underground, Ravenact (an NYC/Berlin duo) and a the NYC/Florida trio Burton/Beeferman/Cochrane. The evening will also feature remarks by hosts Svetlana Mintcheva, director of programs for the National Coalition Against Censorship, and Austin Dacey, creator of the Impossible Music Sessions.
Spectrum is at 121 Ludlow Street, Floor 2, Manhattan NY 10002. Subway access is easy from the F (Delancey stop), J, M and Z (Essex stop) lines.

Todd Wayne Barrow will be performing at the White Elephant Saloon Ft. Worth, Texas on 3 March 2015 at 7pm where he will mention Music Freedom Day.



• In Harare on Sunday 1 March, a big concert celebrating Music Freedom Day is planned in the townships. From 2 to 7 pm.

Freemuse has furthermore received information that events are currently being planned in Germany. Watch this space.

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 11:33 pm by Freemuse · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Download Music Freedom Day logo for poster, website or t-shirt

Technical tip
To copy the banner or logo, first click on one of the links to the right of the logo. Each one links to a different sized logo. Right-click on it and choose “Copy” or “Save Picture As…”.
On a Mac, instead of right-clicking, press the ‘CTRL’-key while you click on the banner

391 x 79 pixel

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300 dpi:
High res for print

With white background:
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With black background:
300 x 87 pixel

‘Spread the word’:
170 x 255 pixel – animated

Download logo for t-shirt

Right-click on link and select ‘Save Target As’ to start downloading the file

Adobe Illustrator-file

Adobe Illustrator-file




Freemuse banners


Web banners

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Posted on February 23, 2015 at 2:00 am by Anders · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Posts from Freemuse · Tagged with: , ,

Three-minute video about music censorship

Music is a human right, but music is being censored all over the world, and musicians are being prosecuted and imprisoned. This three-minute video contains short interview excerpts and music clips with Outspoken (Zimbabwe), Roger Lucey (South Africa), Manu Chao (Spain), Kris Kristofferson (USA), Ramy Essam (Egypt), Mahsa Vahdat (Iran), Mari Boine (Norway), Didier Awadi (Senegal), Ferhat Tunc (Turkey), Khaled Harara (Palestine), Deeyah (USA / Norway).

Freemuse is the only organisation in the world advocating music creators’ rights to freedom of expression.

» Share via

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm by Freemuse · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Book celebrates Music Freedom Day


Are you planning activities in 2015?

During eight years of existence more than 100 partners and collaborators in 36 countries have joined the annual event Music Freedom Day, held on 3rd of March. A new publication ‘Music Freedom Day 2007–2014’ celebrates and gives examples of the powerful, united manifestation around the world.

“Over the years Freemuse has received wonderful posters and photos from many of the events. We hope this publication will inspire organisers and partners for Music Freedom Day 2015,” said Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director.

Music Freedom Day activities in 2015 are already being planned in Pakistan, Egypt, Norway, Zimbabwe and Italy.

Advocacy and defence for musicians’ rights
Launched in 2007, Music Freedom Day is a 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’s further a day to highlight the role and impact of music in our societies.

Worldwide, musicians and composers rights to freedom of expression are violated, but the strong support for Music Freedom Day every year demonstrates the will to continue the advocacy and defence for the universal rights to compose, perform and participate in musical activities.

“Freemuse invites old and new collaborators to celebrate Music Freedom Day on 3 March 2015.”
Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director

Start planning now
Musicians, music promoters as well as musicians’ unions, media and freedom of expression organisations and activists are all invited to participate in this global advocacy event.

“Please inform us about planned activities and do no hesitate to consult us for ideas and inputs. Freemuse hopes we have identified all partners organising events during these past eight years,” said Ole Reitov.

“We wish to thank everyone – not least the artists – who have contributed to this annual event, and we apologise if we have missed any event or organiser. Please inform us about activities not mentioned so that we can make corrections in the second edition.”

The new publication was compiled and edited pro bono by Sunna Reitov Korpe.

cover_200px-w-shadow» Right-click and use drop-down menu to download the book (PDF, 49 pages in A4, 7.7MB)

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 2:21 am by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
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3 March 2015: A global event to support persecuted musicians

Get ready for Monday 3 March 2015 — the annual Music Freedom Day where freedom of musical expression is celebrated and discussed in countries all over the world.


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

The day will be marked with events, seminars, exhibitions, film shows, radio programmes and newspaper articles on the subject of freedom of expression for musicians.

Fantastic support from musicians and fans world-wide
Musicians and composers rights’ to freedom of expression are violated worldwide, but the strong support for Music Freedom Day every year demonstrates the will to continue the advocacy and defence for the universal rights to compose, perform and take part in musical expressions.

An incredible amount of energy, enthusiasm and creativity is being channelled into this annual celebration of freedom of musical expression.

On 3 March 2014, events took place in 18 different countries. Below you can read more about what happened at Music Freedom Day 2014 as well as in the previous years.

Freemuse invites musicians, music promoters as well as musicians’ unions and music journalists to participate in this global advocacy event.

Are you ready to speak up for musician’s human rights and freedom of expression?

Then send an e-mail to Music Freedom Day’s secretariat at and share with others that you have made up your mind and decided to join this collective advocacy event.

There are many ways in which you can do something on 3 March in order to mark the day and let persecuted musicians know that they have your support. This page has some tips specifically for individual musicians who have been thinking of joining or supporting the initiative:

Download Music Freedom Day logo for poster, website or t-shirt

Music Freedom Day 2015 calendar event page on Facebook:

Freemuse’s Facebook-page:

Music Freedom Day is an advocacy event — not for Freemuse, but for the persecuted musicians. The role of Freemuse is primarily to provide coordination, knowledge and awareness.

This website for Music Freedom Day is provided as a forum for the Music Freedom Day activists and organisers.

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Inspiration for musicians who already have a concert scheduled on 3 March

Are you a musician who already have scheduled a performance on 3 March – and would you like to join the Music Freedom Day campaign?

Music Freedom Day is an “advocacy and awareness event”. By simply including a dedication from the stage, or in a live radio interview, a presentation, or on your concert poster, you are automatically part of the global event.

Whether you are a school choir or a world famous band you can make a difference and show your solidarity with colleagues around the world who suffer from censorship, blacklisting, bans, repression, death threats, imprisonment or harassments.

Freemuse does not expect any financial contributions, but we invite bands, musicians, choirs, orchestra and individuals to join us. Should you wish to join, you are most welcome to make use of the “dedication samples” below, or create your own. If you send us a note we will also publish your name and place of the event here on our website.

You may use all our material for free, as long as you state the source: Freemuse.
(On websites preferably with a clickable link which points at or


What to say?
Here are six different suggestions to what you could tell your audience during performances on 3 March, or in the week up til 3 March. You could also place a dedication text on your poster, or on your website.
Feel free to make other dedications or to change our suggestions so they that feel right when you say them:

Dedication – example #1
“This performance is part of Music Freedom Day – an annual global event advocating freedom of musical expression. We join colleagues round the world and Freemuse – The World Forum on Music and Censorship – in their advocacy of human rights.”

Dedication – example #2
“All around the world thousands of our musical colleagues are censored by regimes who do not subscribe to musicians’ and composers’ right to freedom of musical expression.
Tonight we join thousands of music lovers in celebrating Music Freedom Day – organised by Freemuse, the World Forum on Music & Censorship.
We thank you for supporting musicians’ and composers’ right to freedom of expression.”

Dedication – example #3
“Can you imagine a country without music? Well, the Taliban in Afghanistan can. They are trying hard to stop everyone there from playing music, blowing up CD-shops with bombs, and giving fines to people who play music in their cars.
Today we join colleagues round the world and celebrate Music Freedom Day and the right to freedom of musical expression
Freemuse is an organisation advocating our rights to musical freedom. Their motto is “Music will not be silenced” – let’s join them.”

Dedication – example #4
“Imagine the world without music. Or imagine a world where we are told what to play, what to sing and even what we may listen to in the privacy of our own homes. That world already exists. In more countries that you might imagine, musicians and composers are under threat. And that threat is growing.
Today we therefore join Freemuse – the World Forum on Music & Censorship – and colleagues all over the world in the celebration of Music Freedom Day. This concert is dedicated to the freedom of musical expression, and the motto is Music will not be silenced ”

Dedication – example #5
“Music and musicians have always generated enemies. Stalin censored modern composers. Hitler banned all jazz music and music by Jewish composers. US media censored the country band Dixie Chicks, and the Taliban in Afghanistan still tries to stop all music whatsoever.
Today we celebrate Music Freedom Day – an annual global event advocating freedom of musical expression. We join colleagues round the world and Freemuse – The World Forum on Music & Censorship – in their advocacy of human rights, and we say “Music will not be silenced” ”

Dedication – example #6
“Today ( / this week) we celebrate “Music Freedom Day” together with colleagues round the world. We dedicate this concert (/ song) to our fellow musicians* who have been banned, and to the work of Freemuse – the World Forum on Music & Censorship.”
(* see list of artists )


Spread the word!

• You can place a music freedom day banner on your home page, (clickable, referring people to when they click on the banner)

• You can place a little “ad” in the signature in the bottom of your emails, saying something like:

Music Freedom Day: 3 March.

Music Freedom Day
Musicians and broadcasters participate in
a global event on the subject of music and
censorship on 3 March. Join us!

(…or simply place a little clickable banner there.)

• You can tell your musician friends about the event, about this page on, and that they can also join.

• You can spread the word by telling about this event in your private blog, in the online music forums which you are a member of, or by suggesting to your friends on Facebook that they should press ‘I like’ to

• Come up with more ideas, and send them to us.

Let us know what you plan to do, so that we can inform about it on this Music Freedom Day home page. Send an e-mail to, so we can include your name on the 2015-version of this page:


Posted on June 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Posts from Freemuse · Tagged with: 

Reports from around the world on Music Freedom Day 2014


Picture 9

Blogpost: Music Freedom Day in Cuba



Ramy Essam at Beit El Rasef on Music Freedom Day 2014

» See the photos on Facebook




The first half hour of Spillerom was dedicated to Music Freedom Day




1) Music Freedom Day 2014 in Islamabad:

Around 200 people attended the Music Freedom Day event in Islamabad. Media coverage:


Music Freedom Day 2014 in Peshawar:

2) Music Freedom Day where musicians are persecuted persistently
Organized by Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation (PCF)

» Photos uploaded on  Facebook


CJF-MFDReport14cover1253) Musicians’ voice-raising day for freedom of artistic & creative expression in Khyber Paktunkhwa
Organized by Culture Journalists Forum (CJF) and Takhleeq Development Foundation (TDF)

More than 100 senior and young artists, singers and music fans from Chitral, Hazara, Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan, Dir, Bannu, Kohat, Peshawar and Fata attended the function and shared their views on overall situation of art and culture in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

» Read the detailed 9-page report about the event:  Musicians’ voice-raising day for freedom of artistic & creative expression in Khyber Paktunkhwa

» Photos uploaded on  CJF’s Facebook page:   Over 90 photos uploaded here and over 40 photos here




Australian hour on The Pulse around Music Freedom Day



“Today, numerous countries around the world are creating awareness about freedom of expression for musicians during Music Freedom Day – and Sweden is one of them. Mukryam Molod from Iraq studies at the Kungliga music adults school in Stockholm and came to Sweden for the right to express himself with his cello.”



Book Café in Harare celebrated Music Freedom Day:



IFEX were inspired by the actions to put together a story on the day, quoting Freemuse’s statistics and IFEX member reports.

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Music Freedom Day where musicians are persecuted persistently


Music Freedom Day

March 3rd 2014

“The Right to Freedom of Artistic and Creative Expression”


Organized by: Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation (PCF), Peshawar, Pakistan
Venue: Achieves and Library Hall, Peshawar
Report by: Muhammad Rome, ED, PCF, Peshawar


PCF observed Music Freedom Day in one of the most volatile region of the world in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, where the artists, instrumental players, performers and musicians are persecuted persistently. The prevailing circumstances, spreading over decades, have endangered the very art of music.

The seminar of the event affectively voiced the persecution of the artists and the threat posed to the music industry.

Opening the seminar session Amjad Shahzad, a singer and poet, highlighted the challenges face today by music. “Not only the artists are in danger but the very art itself is in threat of extinction. Sarenda, once a popular musical instrument has only one player left. With his death the art will die with him”, he lamented. “Today most of the songs recordings are limited to one electronic key board only that has caused great loss to Pashto music,” said Amjad Shahzad.

Nazir Gul, a famous musician elaborated the rug tag life of the artists and musicians. “Due to the prevailing circumstances new artists are not coming to the industry. Concerts and music in weddings have drastically reduced and the artists are struggling with their survival”. In a far cry he appealed to the government officials to create conducive environment for music or else the industry will die.

In her comments, Wagma, a popular folk singer, said “Our only source of earning livelihood is our art but it is on the track of fast decline. Sensing our miserable live youngsters are shying away from coming into music industry.”

Akber Hussain with his melodious voice revoked the old good days. The audience was full of applause for him.

Gulab Khan, a well-known rabab player, in his comments lamented that we cannot survive by the art we perform. However he was optimistic that many newcomers are joining to learn rabab and will hopefully the art of playing rabab will make progress.



Dr Khadim Hussain, Managing Director of Bacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation, analyzed the factors behind the targeting of culture. The onslaught on Pakhtun Culture spread over many decades. Culture and music are the essence and soul of a nation. If you want to enslave them destroy and capture their culture. When the soul is captured the body is enslaved. “That is why all public gathering places are targeted and a social and cultural disconnect has been created. Music being the powerful and effective tool to connect the people is purposefully targeted in spreading cultural chaos,” he said. However he was optimistic that holding such events is a sign and a ray of hope. He stressed on developing strategy, networking and fund raising mechanism to carry on with the good work. Failing so will result in stoppage of such useful activities.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, ex Information and Culture Provincial Minister and cultural activist right from his student life, elaborated his ministry initiatives for culture and music. He lamented that the sitting government has abandoned all those programmes and whatever environment was made for the revival of music and culture has once again pushed the society back into suffocation. “They [the current government] have not even specified funds in the budget for culture and music, leave apart the promotional initiative,” Mr Hussain stated.



  1. Developing strategy, networking and fund raising mechanism
  2. Need to organize artists, performers, instrumental players and musicians
  3. Establishing art academies
  4.  Introducing music in schools and Fine Arts departments


It was agreed to call upon a meeting soon to work out on the recommendations. At the end of the seminar session a documentary of 14 minutes about Pashto music was aired. After a break, live music concert was conducted. Seven singers performed with two songs each. The event was called off with thanks and a commitment to work in their own capacity to protect and promote music and the people associated to it.

» The 14-minute documentary film ‘Music cannot be silenced’ on



Senior musicians and singers attended the occasion. Concerned government officials were invited to the occasion but they did not turn up.

Earlier the event was proposed to be held in Peshawar Press Club but due conceived threats and in emergency the event was shifted to Archives Hall, Peshawar.

Due to the shifting of venue and the prevailing uncertain circumstances the audience did not turn up in throngs.

Lots of encouragement was received by PCF on holding the event.


Media links









Start Time

End Time


Introduction and welcome speech Muhammad Rome ED PCF 17:00 17:05


Pashto Music today Amjad Shahzad Art Director PCF 17:06 17:20


Stage Conductor Amjad Shahzad Singer and Anchor Continued


Artists Today Nazir Gul Musician 17:21 17:30


Comments Wagma Singer 17:31 17:36


Voice Melody Performance Akber Hussain Senior singer 17:36 17:41


Comments Gulab Famous Rubab Player


Extremism and Culture Dr.Khadim Hussain MD BKTEF 17:43 18:00


Speech Mian Iftikhar Hussain Ex Information and Culture Minister 18:01 18:16


Documentary Playing PCF Team Technical Staff 18:17 18:31




Recommendations From the Gathering Invitees 18:32 18:40


Music Concert Seven Singers Singers 19:10 20:30


Farewell and End Muhammad Rome ED PCF

2 Minutes


» This report is also available as an A4-size PDF document - for print or download

The Pashto music backdrop

The following is a description of the backdrop to the annual Music Freedom Day celebration in Peshawar. It provides an insight into the role which such an event plays to musicians and artists in Peshawar and the Pakhtun society where shrinking spaces not only endanger the artists, but threaten the survival of century-old local music traditions on both sides of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

By Muhammad Rome

The music of a nation is a living image of their social life, attitudes, culture and way of life. Folk music is the soul of music. It is usually simple and in easy notes, equally appreciated and enjoyed by all members of a society. If a degree of classical music is added to the folk music it becomes more fascinating.

Music is so embedded in the cultural set up of Pakhtun society that at least a Tapa – a popular Pashto folk poetry meant to be sung – is remembered by each individual of the society. The social strength has kept Pashto music alive and made progress with the passage of time.

In 1893 when the Durand Line was drawn between Afghanistan and India, present day Pakistan, a challenge of social and cultural survival was faced by Pakhtuns of this side of the Durand Line. The annexed territory was used as a buffer zone by the British. Proxy wars were fought on both sides of the Line. The region has witnessed many upheavals in the past century. Today the region is one of the most dangerous zones of the world. In these harsh circumstances Pashto music was able to carry on its journey.

Pashto with Western beats
In the third quarter of last century Western music permeated into Indian music. But they have adopted it and made some very standard compositions. However, this influence is limited to theatre and film music of Bollywood. Through the film music of India, Western music gradually entered into neighboring countries. Thus Pashto music has also been affected.

Due to turbulence in Afghanistan artists and musicians sought refuge in Western countries. The assimilation has resulted in composition of high standard music in Pashto with Western and European beats and musical instruments. This experiment was successful in the context of Afghanistan because the artists and musicians there have good understanding of classical music. On the other side of Durand Line, the north west of Pakistan the Western influence has bad effects on Pashto music due to its peculiar circumstances.

The famous Ghazi Amanullah Khan gave patronage to music. He sent musicians to India for learning classical music and thus introducing classical music in Afghanistan. He himself was a good player of piano and harmonium. Academies were opened to educate youngsters in music. This official patronage started long before him and survived after him.

To the Pakistani side of Durand line there has never been state patronage. Therefore the Western music was not assimilated in the way Afghani artists have done. Sardar Ali Takkar was the first to experiment with Western and classical music. Takkar, a great artist, was successful in this experiment. After him, with exception of a few, the trend has never been successful.

Onslaught against culture
The so-called media revolution in Pakistan poses new threat to Pashto music. AVT Khyber TV, the only Pashto tv-channel in Pakistan, did more damage than service to Pashto music. Without proper compositions, new songs with Western beats were started being aired. Those who could afford recordings became singers overnight.

The current onslaught against culture and Pashto music is traced back to the then Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. Radical Islam was introduced in both sides of Durand Line, region inhabited by Pakhtuns, to effectively restrain and defeat Soviet troops. During the period cinema halls were frequently targeted, once the most powerful artistic expression of the society has been gradually made worthless. In the process Pashto music has made great loss. As the intolerance and extremism grew spaces for cultural expression shrank.

The appearance of Taliban in 1990s, the offshoot of Mujahideen, was the beginning of dark period for Pashto music. After 9/11 when Taliban sought refuge in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa all means were deployed to discourage cultural gatherings and expressions.

The extremists capitalized upon the public understanding of music as something against the religion. This view has been propagated since 1980s through various mediums. And thus there was little resistance on the onslaught of singers, performers, artists and musicians.

Dead or exiled
On the other side of Durrand line, in Afghanistan, the decades-long and unending civil war, anarchy and turbulence has caused the decline of all fine arts. The reigns of Jihadi war-lords and Taliban were particularly suppressive and destructive for all arts and artists in Afghanistan. In past, Kabul and Kandahar were big centres of music. Singers and musicians in these cities were either murdered or forced to quit music under threats of death. Many were forced to leave their country. The consequences of all this for music were, to say the least, destructive.

A great teacher of classical music from Kandahar, Rahmani Sahib, is teaching music at a university in Denmark. Nashanas Ustaz lives in London. Other Afghan singers and musicians are scattered in the United States, Germany, India and other countries.

Insecurity and fear
The circumstances under which Pukhto music is surviving since last few years have inflicted a great damage to Pukhto music. In these years, many a singers and artists were murdered. Shabana and Ghazala Javeed of Swat and Anwar Gul of Peshawar are recent instances of killed artists.

A number of leading Pukhto singers and musicians – like Sardar Ali Takkar, Haroon Bacha and Sahib Gul Ustaz – were forced to leave the country and leave in exile. Those who couldn’t make it to free lands had no option but to quit music altogether and are now leading miserable lives. And those remaining Pukhto singers and musicians who refused to end their attachment to music are living under a continuous sense of insecurity and fear.

Need of the day: advocacy
In this backdrop there is a need of civil society to stand with art and its industry. Advocacy at all levels is the need of the day. The shrinking spaces not only endanger the artists but there is a threat to the art itself. There is now one master of sarenda, a traditional musical instrument, player left. With him the art will die.

Music Freedom Day provides a tremendous opportunity in bringing to light the importance of music within a society and discussing and sharing ideas locally and at world stage.

Creative and free expression is a key to progress. Long lasting peace can only be achieved if pluralism is duly respected and valued.

“Protect my white pigeon from the gun fire
Believe me,
the music of Rabaab will bring back peace.”

Poetry by Amjad Shahzad

Muhammad Rome is a writer and ED, Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. E-mail: and

» Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation on Twitter: @pcfpehawar
» Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation on Facebook:

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Posts from organisers · Tagged with: ,

Music Freedom Day 2014 takes place in 18 countries

During 2013, the human rights organisation Freemuse registered 19 musicians killed, 7 abducted, and 18 music creators imprisoned. There are many reasons for organising the annual ‘Music Freedom Day’ 3rd of March, which puts focus on musicians’ rights to freedom of expression.


“These are some of the statistics for 2013, which Freemuse publishes today, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of cases of persecutions and attacks, not to mention thousands of censorship cases, are never reported,” says Freemuse Director Ole Reitov.

» Read more: Freemuse Annual Statistics

The Music Freedom Day events around the world are self-organised by artists, cultural operators and media operators – from Australia via Pakistan over Africa and Europe to USA. The programme is expanding from day to day, and an overview continuously updated at

This year activities include Dina El Wedidi, one of Egypt’s leading new artists performing in Oslo, Norway; Moroccan fusion rocker Réda Zine leading his band Voodoo Sound Club in a concert in Bologna, Italy; while some of Zimbabwe’s most outspoken artists enter the stage in Harare and exiled musicians from Sudan perform in Cairo.

In Pakistan, a conference and performances will take place in Islamabad and Peshawar – cities which have experienced numerous attacks on musicians and music activities.

The Bahraini composer Ahmed Ali Al Ghanem has dedicated a piece to the day and made it available for musicians at

In some countries the music events will start already on 1st of March. Broadcasters in many countries join the event. The Catalan radio programme ‘Les Rutes del So’ will already tonight play music of banned artists, the legendary Serbian resistance broadcaster Radio B92 will focus on the situation for musicians in Sudan, NRK Norway will focus on Tibet and Roma musicians, while in Germany is finishing off Music Freedom Day radio activities with a programme on 9th of March.

“It is important to focus on the situation for musicians in Tibet and Sudan, but the situation in Mali also continues to affect music life in serious ways. Threats and attacks on musicians are once again increasing in Pakistan, and women are still banned from performing in public in Iran and Saudi Arabia,” says Ole Reitov.

Music Freedom Day provides a platform for artists, broadcasters and cultural organisations to discuss mechanisms of censorship. At numerous artists are interviewed about censorship and self-censorship.

Religious topics and issues of homosexuality are still very controversial to address in many countries. In a Freemuse video interview, one of Africa’s legendary rappers, Didier Awadi from Senegal, speaks openly about how he refrains from addressing religious issues, while exiled Palestinian rapper Khaled Harara talks about the political abuse of religion as a power tool:

Read more

Media contact – Tel: +45 2323 2765

» PDF: press-release_MFD2014

» Microsoft Word-document: press-release_MFD2014

Joining Music Freedom Day 2014:


Posted on March 3, 2014 at 4:00 am by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Scheduled for Music Freedom Day 2014


Activities are being planned in Jalalabad.


On Monday 3 March 2014 an event will be organised at the Bamenda French Alliance Center in Yaounde.


1) Cherine Amr joins Freemuse Award winner Ramy Essam at Beit El Raseef at a concert cum public conference celebrating the Music Freedom Day and discussing freedom of expression rights in Cairo on the 3rd of March.

» Facebook event-page:


2) Sudanese exiled musicians have organised a Music Freedom Day concert in central Cairo.

Abazar Hamid from Sudan and Uprising Group from South are gathering in their exile in Cairo to perform at The Town House and play a tone for peace and hope, highlighting the right to freedom of expression by featuring works by the murdered Syrian artist Ibrahim Algashosh.
Time: 8pm
Place: Town House, Rwabit Theatre – 8 Hussain Almemar St, off Shamiplion St, Cairo
» Facebook event-page:

Bakelit Multi Art Center in Budapest plans to organise their fourth Music Freedom Day this year.

In Italy, Music Freedom Day will be marked in Bologna,for several days. Organised by Hibrido Radio Il Mostro, Bo Ground and Réda Zine in front the event starts already on Friday 28 February with a workshop “diritti civile dell’artista” = “Artist Civil Rights Chart” followed up by presentation ofvarious artistic productions on Saturday 1 March at 3:30pm at Centro Katia Bertasi in Bologna.
In the evening, starting from 9:30pm, the programme features poetry reading and music concerts with a number of artists, among them Moroccan fusion rocker Réda Zine who leads his band Voodoo Sound Club.


» Event-page on Facebook:

» Poster on Facebook:

Music Freedom Day Concert in Oslo featuring Dina El Wedidi & Mazaher

A unique encounter between youth and traditional in Egyptian woman singing at a time when conservative forces put women’s performing arts under pressure.

dina-osloDina El Wedidi: Vocal and percussion
Women from Mazaher: Vocal and percussion
Mohamed Adel: Guitar
Mohamad Ra’fat: Drums
Wael Elsayed: Accordion and percussion
Mohamed Abdo Seka: Bass guitar

The concert is organised by Kulturkirken Jakob in cooperation with Oslo World Music Festival.



» Tickets: and at the door.
Nkr 150.00 plus fee.

The concert is scheduled to begin at 8pm in Kulturkirken Jakob, Oslo.

Music Freedom Day Concert 3rd March, 2014

1) Institute for Preservation of Arts and Culture in Islamabad is organising its second Music Freedom Day concert on 3 March 2014 at 4.30 pm, Lok Virsa, Islamabad. They are inviting folk and classical artist from different part of the country, a majority of whom were being attacked and harassed. The impressive line-up of artists includes: Akbar Ali,Akber Khamiso, Sachu Khan, Taimur Khan, Alan Faqir (Jr), Zain Ullah, Maqsood Ali, Ustad Ahmed Gul and Khumariyaan,

The organisers write:
“Unfortunately today in Pakistan music is being silenced. Our musicians are being persecuted by tyrants who do not subscribe to musicians’ right to freedom of musical expression. We are celebrating this day. On this event we will join hands with musicians and music lovers around the globe to celebrate the world Music Freedom Day and to advocate for the human rights of musicians.

This concert will be a rare treat for music enthusiasts as it will take them on a musical journey that will included folk tunes from Baluchistan, the northwestern frontiers of Pakistan and classical tunes from Punjab; the melodic brilliance of the Indian Subcontinent.”

Monday 3 March 2014
Gates open: 4:30 pm
Show starts: 5:00 pm sharp
Venue: Media Center Audotorium, Lok Virsa, Garden Avenue, Shakarparien, Islamabad, Pakistan
Setting: Indoor, Casual, floor seating. Reserved seats for senior citizens will be on first come basis.

» Invititation (PDF)
» Home page:
» Broadcast:
» Facebook-page:


2) Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation and Cultural Journalists Forum Peshawar plans to celebrate Music Freedom Day 2014 in Peshawar.


Klub Gromka, AKC Metelkova, Ljubljana

Discussion: “Music between Freedom and Censorship”
Miha Zadnikar, Ičo Vidmar, Xenia Jus … moderator: BIGor
Nova Muska podcast + Active of Listeners

Spinning the musics labelled as “R” [=revolutionary] from the Radio Študent Library
Radio Študent will have the “R” on their playlist all day long!

Organized by Nova Muska, klub Gromka, Radio Študent


Music Freedom Day Concert and discussion in Stockholm, organised by folk musicians against rascism at Stallet on 3 March at 7pm.
» Flyer (PDF)


Pamberi Trust/Magamba and Shoko Festival join forces with Transit Crew, Selmor Mtukudzi, Jam Signal and Livesoul featuring Kevin Muntsi in a grand Music Freedom Day celebration at Book Café in Harare.

Starting at 2pm on 1st of March with House of Poetry Slam, followed by free film screening of ‘Let Freedom Sing’ at 6pm, the shout-out for music freedom concert starts at 8pm.

Tax: $5

» For print: Poster in high resolution

In New York, an ‘Impossible Music Session’ is being planned in Brooklyn. The Impossible Music Sessions were launched on Music Freedom Day in 2010 and feature the music of an artist who cannot be there.

» Home page:


Radio and newspapers

On the occasion of Music Freedom Day, Jorge Laraia will make a special programme in the series ‘Planeta Musical Sur’ on Radio Universidad Calf FM 103.7. The radio station is located in the city of Neuquén, Patagonia. It can be listened to via the Internet by the following link:



1) On 8ccc Community Radio in Alice Springs, Veronika Eclipse’s weekly radio show ‘V for World’ is dedicated to Music Freedom Day on Monday 3 March at 7-9pm local time.
The show covers music from around the world, and on this occasion Veronika will be playing songs from countries which are most affected by attacks, control, hate, discrimination and censorship.
“Music won’t be silenced!” writes Veronika who would like to get more people involved and hopes to create a discussion.

» Home page:
» Listen online anywhere in the world on:

Print2) On 94.7 The Pulse in Geelong, Patrick Chiller and Mik Aidt will be marking Music Freedom Day on Monday 3 March with an hour of music by and interviews with persecuted musicians from countries such as Tibet, Egypt, Cameroon, Pakistan, USA and Australia. The show is broadcasted live at 11-12am local time.

» Home page:


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will also be participating. They will have a feature article on as well as Radio 2 national programmes pointing to the day and the Freemuse site.

A part of ‘This Land – Your Land? Songs for political action’ on 9 March 2014 on the Internet radio will be dedicated to Music Freedom Day 2014.

Jungeltelegrafen on NRK will produce a special theme edition of the radio show, which runs both Saturday 1 March and Monday 3 March. Among other content it will include a session and an interview with Loten Namling from Tibet. In addition, the reports into these matters will be offered to NRK’s new daily music show ‘Spillerom’, which is the ‘flagship’ of the music department at NRK P2. Journalist Arne Berg will also be delivering reports to the new Norwegian channel P13.

» Jungeltelegrafen:
» Facebook-page:!/pages/Jungeltelegrafen/172692579351

Voice of America Deeva Radio Service will present a One Hour Live Showon Music Freedom Day with Behroz Khan (host) and Amjad Shehzad.

Journalist Sher Alam Shinwari will contribute with an article on the plight of singers and artists in KP and FATA regions – the stronghold of militant groups. He will talk to singers and artists, and will also be asking the provincial culture department on their take on the issue after a hand-grenade attack in a cinema on 2 Febraury 2014 killed six and injured 40 persons.

Disco 3000 will join on Radio B92 on 2 March from 23.00 to 24.00. The main topic of the hour will be the crisis and the music in Sudan. Host: Bojan Đorđević.


For seven consecutive years, the Catalan radio journalist Albert Reguant has collaborated in the Music Freedom Day campaign. This year he will do it in a new radio programme, ‘Les Rutes Del So’ (‘The Routes of the Sound’), which is broadcasted both on radio FM and on the Internet.

“I hope that this day has a large global impact, and that musicians can feel more protected,” Albert Reguant said.
“For this special program we have a selection of musical artists who have been censored or have their works, who have been exiled, or who are, or have been, victims of the silence of the media in their respective countries.”

Among these artists possible to emphasize the Ukrainian singer ROSAWA, Palestinian singer AMAL MURKUS, singer of Xinjiang/China MAMER, Syrian singer GHARIB, Mali tuareg group TAMIKREST, Tibetan singer SONAME, Catalan-Valencian songwriter RAIMON or the American folk singer PETE SEEGER. These last, died in the last January.

Albert Reguant is an internationally recognised music journalist, member of the World Music Charts Europe and other international organisations.

» To listen to the programme starting 27 February, go to:
» Blog:

In Utah, Ethnosphere Radio, which is broadcasted every Sunday evening from 7:00-10:00 pm and has been running in 22 years, is promoting Music Freedom Day on Facebook with this banner.


IFEX are planning to feature a story on Music Freedom Day 3 March 2014 looking back at the some of the musicians who have covered in IFEX over the year in tribute to the day.

The IDAHO Committee will be marking the Music Freedom Day by outlining the connections between LGBT rights and freedom of expression through music, and will be underscoring the importance of these issues by launching a call for choirs and communities to join the chorus for Freedom of Expression on by participating in a ‘Global Sing-in’ for the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia on 17 May 2014.

» For more info see

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 3:00 am by Mik Aidt · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Posts from organisers · Tagged with: