Freemuse activities in 2003

Nigeria report

A major report on music censorship in Nigeria was conducted during May and June 2002. “Which way Nigeria?”- Music under Threat: A Question of Money, Morality, Self-Censorship and the Sharia – was launched at a press conference at Centre Culturel Suédois in Paris, on 29 April 2003.

Nigerian master-drummer Tony Allen (the powerhouse behind the late Fela Kuti’s band Africa 70) and the composer Ray Lema, member of Freemuse advisory board, both contributed to the event.

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Read the report
Read the Freemuse report on Nigeria

Cuban musician imprisoned
On 15 August 2003, the controversial Cuban rock artist Gorki Luis Águila Carrasco was formally convicted for drug trafficking and sentenced to four years imprisonment. However the circumstances leading to his arrest in April 2003 were such that no evidence of drug trafficking was presented.
In October 2003, Freemuse launched an international campaign for a fair trial for Gorki Carrasco, and requested the Cuban government to reconsider the doubtful court case.

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Moroccan musicians jailed
On 16 February 2003, 9 musicians and 5 fans were arrested at a heavy metal concert in Casablanca and accused of practising Satanism due simply to the style of music they were performing, their attire and CDs they owned. The judge who heard the case also found it suspicious that one of the musicians wrote lyrics in English and stated that “normal people go to concerts in a suit and tie”.
Freemuse informed the media about the case, and offered juridical assistance to the organization in Casablanca who campaigned for the release of the musicians and fans.
On 4 April a court in
Rabat dismissed the charges against eleven (who had been earlier released on bail) and reduced the sentences on the other three to 45 days.

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Folk Alliance (February, Nashville, USA)
Freemuse co-chair Gerald Seligman hosted a session on freedom of musical expression, and the Freemuse sponsored documentary on the censorship of music in apartheid South Africa, “Stopping the Music”, was screened.
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China – cultural seminar (March 2003, Beijing, China)
Freemuse Executive Committee member Ole Reitov attended the seminar on behalf of Freemuse. At the seminar, organized by the musicologist cultural wing of ASEM, Ole Reitov gave a speech entitled Regimes as musical vampires & blood transfusions to traditional music. Ole Reitov also had two meetings at the Chinese Ministry of Culture, where freedom of musical expression was discussed.
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Lecture on freedom of expression (April, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Closed lecture for South African guest students at the Danish Rhythmic Music Conservatory, by Ole Reitov.

Roskilde Festival 2003 (June, Roskilde, Denmark)
At the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Freemuse organized a well-attended press conference and debate on freedom of musical expression, where a group of renowned musicians took part in the discussion: The British/Nigerian rapper Ty, the legendary Tony Allen – one of the fathers of AfroBeat and the powerhouse behind the late Fela Kuti’s band Africa 70, and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz).
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Damon Albarn - click for video
Damon Albarn, Blur

ZIFF, Festival of the Dhow-countries (July, Zanzibar, Tanzania)
“Stopping the Music” was screened and Freemuse co-chair Gerald Seligman chaired a seminar; Music – A Human Right.

IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music) (July, Montreal, Canada)
Co-chair Martin Cloonan took part in this annual meeting, and attended a panel discussion on music and censorship.

Durban International Film Festival – DIFF (September, Durban, South Africa)
“Stopping the Music” was screened at DIFF. Freemuse was represented by South African musician, Roger Lucey, the main character of the film.

WOMEX 2003 (October, Seville, Spain)
Freemuse arranged two conference sessions (on cultural boycott and on Post-September 11 effects on freedom of musical expression), and also had a stand at the trade fair, visited by a great number of people. Besides this Freemuse held an Advisory Board meeting, and presented a concert with Amal Murkus – a Palestinian singer born and living in Israel. The concert took place in connection with the WOMEX Award ceremony.
We can proudly add that the WOMEX Award 2003 went to Freemuse.

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More about WOMEX 2003
The WOMEX award

3G / The Initiative for Freedom of Expression (October, Istanbul, Turkey)
Roger Lucey represented Freemuse at this seminar, where “Stopping the Music” was screened. Paul Erasmus also participated. The seminar was arranged by Sanar Yurdatapan, (Initiative for Freedom of Expression) who also took part in the 2nd World Conference on Music and Censorship.

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