Spain: Gilberto Gil joins Freemuse at festival against censorship



Gilberto Gil joins Freemuse at festival against censorship

Brasilian legend Gilberto Gil is headlining this year’s edition of ‘Festival against censorship’ in Bilbao in Spain. The week-long festival opens on 26 November 2009.

In the fourth consecutive year, Serrano productions organises Europe’s leading festival against censorship, including concerts, film screenings, seminars and exhibitions.

Excerpt of the festival poster.
Click on photo to see the poster in full

Click on photo to see poster enlarget

Aziza Brahim, the West Saharian singer who recently performed at the international trade fair WOMEX in Copenhagen, and who currently lives in exile in Spain, will perform together with the Basque group Oreka TX.

Algerian singer Rachid Taha will fly in from France to join the festival.

Inspired by the work of Freemuse, the festival has in the past presented artists from all over the world who have faced censorship. Last year Zimbabwian singer Chiwoniso joined Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat and the exiled Bangladesh writer Tasliman Nasreen.

Forced into exile
Gilberto Gil, the legendary Brazilian singer and composer was imprisoned 40 years ago during the military dictatorship. Gil was at the centre of the cultural and political revolution in Brazil, known as Tropicalia. He was later forced into exile as the movement was seen as a threat to the dictatorship.

Talking about the dark years of the coup d’ Etat, Gil last year in an interview with Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, said:

“Music was something important. Music gave the opportunity to the Brazilian resistance . To oppose the regime through the songs… Because of the suspicion that we [the singers] could mobilize people, I was arrested.”

Gil moved to London in 1969 and returned to Brazil 1972. He has received several Grammy Awards, is the winner of the Polar Music Prize.

In 2003 he was asked by President Lula to become Brazil’s Minister of Culture, a post heheld till last year when he resigned in order to continue his artistic work.

Round table on freedom of expression
In Bilbao, Gilberto Gil will join Freemuse Executive Director Marie Korpe and Ole Reitov, Freemuse Programme Manager, in a radio transmitted and televised roundtable on freedom of expression.

The Bilbao festival includes exhibitions of comics, cartoons, censored books, and film screenings.

This year, Professor John A Lent, founder and publisher of The International Journal of Comic Art will participate, alongside Freemuse Director Marie Korpe, in a public conference on freedom of speech. As part of the festival, Bilbao hosts Fahed Halabi, as artist-in-residence. Furthermore, the festival will display books that were censored during the Franco regime in Spain.


26 November:   Gilberto Gil
27 November:   Aziza Brahim & Oreka TX
28 November:   Rachid Taha

The slogan of the festival in 2009 is: “Everything that is not compulsory is strictly forbidden”.

Gilberto Gil – photographed by Antonio Cruz / ABr

Click to read more about Aziza Brahim
Aziza Brahim – recently nominated for a global Freedom to Create Prize

Information about the artists

Gilberto Gil:

Rachid Taha:

Aziza Brahim:

Video interview

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