Freemuse Newsletter no. 3 / 2008


06 August 2008


Dark spot in China: Imprisonment of Tibetan musicians

As the Olympic Games in Beijing make news headlines around the world, stories of musicians
being oppressed and silenced reach Freemuse from the country’s ‘back garden’ behind the
mountain plateau of Tibet. Tibetan singers Drolmakyi and Jamyang Kyi,
and the musician Lhundrup have been arrested and held
in custody without charges by Chinese authorities.

Read more:


African singer receives Freemuse Award in Dublin

Tiken Jah Fakoly will receive the first ever Freemuse Award in connection with his
Ireland debut concert in Dublin on Saturday 23 August. Working tirelessly to denounce
political corruption in Africa, Tiken Jah has already given away half the award money
to imprisoned African journalist Moussa Kaka.
Tiken Jah will play at Dublin’s
Festival of World Cultures.
A press meeting will be organised on the day prior to his concert and the award ceremony.

Read more:


Freemuse seminar in Somalia

A Freemuse seminar about music censorship and attacks on musicians in Somalia was held
in the capital Mogadishu in the beginning of July. Organised by the Somali Pen on behalf
of Freemuse, the seminar witnessed testimonies of intimidation, targeted killings and
general deprivation of musicians and composers rights to work and express themselves.
It is the first time ever this topic has been discussed at a fora consisting of
journalists, artists and scholars. A report will soon be available at

Read more:
‘Musician gunned down by militiamen’
‘University students obstructed music event’


Musicians’ visa issues highlighted
at Womex and Creole Festival

The ‘Visa Initiative’ concerning the difficulties that organisers in Europe face when inviting
artists from Asia, Africa and Latin America was initiated at the Womex trade fair last year.
Freemuse will present the conclusions of a forthcoming ‘white paper’ on visa issues at the
Womex 08 in October – and also at the Dortmund Creole NRW which is a world music event
in Germany including concerts and seminars.
Read more:


Other recent arrests of and trials against musicians

• Singer Lapiro de Mbanga:
on trial in Cameroon.

• Reggae singer Teddy Afro:
on trial – allegedly framed by authorities – in Ethiopia. On 4 August the case took a strange twist.

• Performer Fadh al-Qarni:
convicted to 18 months imprisonment in Yemen.


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Find more information on
features new articles and background documents on music censorship every week.


Recent news stories

China: Authorities stricter on foreign performers

Russia: Government plan to ban emo and goth music

Chile: New evidence lead to reopening of Victor Jara’s murder case

Sudan: Censored singer tries to reform ‘hate singers’


Recent interviews and feature stories

Turkey: ‘I escaped and cannot return’

Interview with exiled Turkish baglama-player and singer Fuat Talay who speaks about how
the Turkish authorities kept him in a police station’s cellar for 23 days, and later on
convicted him to 12 years in prison.


Burma / Myanmar: ‘Nobody will know you anymore’

Interview with musician Mun Awng who left Burma to be able to make music free of censorship
and in hope of improving the political situation in his country.


Saudi Arabia: ‘Stay safe, play smart’

Interview with Faisal Al-Alamy, founder of Saudi Arabian thrash metal band Octum. They
released a demo entitled ‘Fighting For Freedom’ in January 2008.


Saudi Arabia: Musicians’ freedom expanded

There has been a quiet, yet marked increase in cultural activities in Saudi Arabia during
the past couple of months. New music bands emerge and blossom on the internet



New book

‘Heavy Metal Islam – Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam’

American author and historian Mark LeVine is presently writing a report for Freemuse on
heavy metal in the Middle East. In July, he published a book about the special role of
Heavy Metal music in the Middle East and its relationship with Islam.



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Freemuse (FREEdom of MUSical Expression) is an international
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