Index on Censorship publishes issue on music censorship
Index on Censorship, Britain’s leading organisation promoting freedom of expression, released a magazine issue on music censorship entitled ‘Smashed hits 2.0’ on 8 September 2010.
‘Smashed Hits 2.0’ investigates music and free expression with writing and interviews. The issue is produced in collaboration with Freemuse and features interviews with Daniel Barenboim, Lapiro de Mbanga, Femi Kuti, Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, Simon Broughton, Negar Shaghaghi, Malu Halasa, Louise Gray, Peter Jenner and many more, including an article by Freemuse founders Marie Korpe and Ole Reitov and a short piece by the English novelist, reviewer and columnist, Will Self.
The title is a reference to an issue which Index on Censorship published in 1998 in connection with the 1st World Conference on Music Censorship. Since then social media and the use of internet has exploded and even changed the censorship environment.
Address Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA Nearest tube Farringdon. Buses: 38, 341, 63, 19 (gmap)
After party from 9pm at the Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, with Resonance FM DJ Fari Bradley.
Radio special Plus, listen to Free Lab Radio’s special on protest music and music from censored countries on Resonance FM, 11pm-12am, 18 September. 104.4 FM
Khyam Allami is the first recipient of BBC Radio 3′s World Routes Academy scholarship and made his debut at Womad and the Proms this summer.
Clemency Burton-Hill: “That brings us to an important point about the de facto censorship of Wagner in Israel. You have always been adamant that Wagner was originally banned after Kristallnacht in 1938 not because of his own anti-Semitism — which had been well known since the 19th century — but because of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi party, i.e. the monstrous and appalling uses to which Hitler put the music. That distinction seems still not to be being made in Israel today, where the ban is very much still in place.”
Daniel Barenboim: “I’m afraid Israeli public opinion has manipulated all that. I’m sure there are many people in Israel who “don’t want to hear Wagner” who think that Wagner was around in 1940 — that Wagner was a Nazi. But you know, none other than [Arturo] Toscanini — who besides being a great musician was a great fighter for liberty — in 1936, when he was conducting the opening concerts for the new symphony orchestra in Tel Aviv, ironically then called the Palestine Philharmonic, played Wagner and there was no problem. The decision to stop playing Wagner was taken by members of the orchestra after Kristallnacht and that was perfectly understandable and just, from my point of view, in 1938. But to continue with that now is arguably as bad as it would have been to continue to play Wagner from that day.”
Clemency Burton-Hill: “It seems ironic that you were accused of being a fascist for playing Wagner’s music, when it could be argued that censorship of any music in a democratic country is verging on the fascist.”
Daniel Barenboim: “As I have said before, the idea this was a scandal was started the following day by people with a political agenda, not those in the concert hall, which greatly saddened me. I have always said that I respect anybody’s right not to listen to Wagner and that is why his work should be offered to a non-subscription audience. Israel is a democratic society, there should be no place for such taboos.” Read more…
For musicians, broadcasters, singers and their fans around the world, censorship is a fact of life – from legal threats against filesharers to restrictions on performing live. But some musicians and music lovers face more extreme conditions than others.
In Iran, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei recently declared that music was incompatible with the values of the Islamic Republic; in Tibet, musicians are imprisoned for singing resistance songs and in Turkey, Kurdish singers can face prosecution for making political statements.
In its latest issue, Index publishes interviews and articles by leading music writers and musicians on the challenges to free expression – whether digital, legal or commercial.
Index: Don’t Stop The Music! Read about the songs they tried to ban, the musicians stopped from playing live, and the singers who are put on trial, in the bumper SMASHED HITS issue of Index