Myanmar/Burma: Flow of secret music files



Myanmar / Burma:
Flow of secret music files

While demonstrations, arrests and killings take place in Rangoon, and online media networks, websites and weblogs in Burma have been blocked, exiled Burmese musicians have quickly developed alternative communication channels, and their music, as well as video footage, is being smuggled across borders and distributed secretly within Burma via the internet

An example of a Burmese music group which is a ‘thorn in the eye’ of Myanmar’s military authorities, using music as an underground channel for political debate, is the hip-hop group MFG – Myanmar Future Generations. On 20 September 2007 they released a new protest song entitled ‘Generations Remix’, ‘MyoSetMyar Ei PongSetChin’, which they dedicate as “a tribute to the ’88 Generation Students’ brothers and sisters”. The group is presently finishing a ‘music documentary presentation’ to follow the song up.

“In urgency of time – please feel free to spread this music around to support for people in the country,” they write on their ‘underground network’ page on They grant everyone to re-distribute their songs freely in any medium “for the good cause of Myanmar Freedom Movement with non-profit intentions”.

About the artists
MFG is formed with Burmese youths who live abroad. The group was founded in 2003, and in the following four years they have produced 10 political hip-hop songs in Burmese language. They have also established a Group Forum on which has more than 600 members.
“We are just ordinary youngsters. We have never worked as professionals such as musicians or artists before”, a member of MFG told BBC Burmese Radio in 2004.

Hip-hop causes controverse in Burma.

MFG does not distribute photos of themselves. Above is another – not quite as controversial – Burmese hip-hopper: Ya Tha

Click to go to MFG's home page
Logo of MFG


M.F.G.’s official website: – where the song can be downloaded

M.F.G.’s ‘underground network’ page:

BBC Burmese – 8 July 2004:

‘MFG Myanmar Future Generations’

In-depth report on music censorship in Burma

The book ‘Shoot the Singer’ which was published in 2004 contains a chapter about music censorship Burma, Chapter 6: ‘Music under siege’.

Freemuse offers you to read the full chapter by Aung Zaw – 23 pages in pdf-format.

Read the chapter

How censorship is carried out in Burma

Excerpt from ‘Risky Jokes about Burma’s Dictators’ by Don North

“In Burma, or Myanmar as the generals insist it be called, the government has created artist associations for writers, journalists and any form of entertainer, even athletes. In order to create anything new, permission must be obtained from the government. But before getting approval, the artist’s association memberships are reviewed.
Since 1962, the government’s permission must be obtained to hire a Pwe troupe (troupe of political satirists, musicians, puppeteers and dancers) for holidays, birthdays, weddings and funerals. To gain permission a troupe must pay a fee, and submit a list of all performers.
Permission also must be obtained from the police. Military intelligence must approve the content, too.
With such draconian regulations and a consensus of all parties required, permission is reported to be rarely granted. The art, history and culture of Burma have suffered under the blacklist of the Pwe. The unfettered mind is under siege in what is one of the world’s most oppressed nations.”

Order the book

News update

28 September 2007:
The Burmese government have turned their attention to preventing material being circulated via the internet,, shutting down internet cafes and now allegedly cutting internet links with the outside world. The Burmese authorities hold a monopoly over telecommunications systems in the country. An official told the Agence France Presse news agency that the internet “is not working because the underwater cable is damaged”.

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