Myanmar/Burma: Hip hop musician’s third year in prison

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Burma / Myanmar:

Hip hop musician’s third year in prison

The magazine The Irrawaddy reminds us about an imprisoned musician, Burma’s popular hip hop artist Zayar Thaw, who is serving his third year under detention in a prison at Kawthaung.

As well as being a musician, Zayar Thaw is also a social activist who has used his music to raise awareness and funds through performing in charity concerts. He was one of four founding members of the underground youth organisation known as Generation Wave.

On 12 March 2008 he was arrested and charged with forming an illegal organisation. He was then sentenced to six years imprisonment.

26 March 2010 was Zayar Thaw’s 29th birthday, and on this occassion, Min Yan Naing, a co-founder of Generation Wave, spoke to The Irrawaddy. He said: “We are sad that our comrade Zayar Thaw is spending his birthday behind bars but we are so proud and honored that he did the right thing and gave up his liberty to fight for freedom in our country. We salute him for his effort and wish him a very happy birthday.”

Popular hip hop album
In 2000, Zayar Thaw‘s band Acid released the first ever hip hop album in Burma, ‘Beginning’ which went straight to number 1 and stayed there for two months.

Acid‘s co-founder, Yan Yan Chan, was also arrested in April 2008 and imprisoned until January 2009. Details of his arrest are vague, but according to Alex Allgee, who wrote the article in The Irrawaddy, it is believed to have been in connection with Zayar Thaw’s arrest and the suspicions authorities have about music celebrities.



Zayar Thaw


Click to read more about music and censorship in Burma/Myanmar
Myanmar / Burma



Read the article


The Irrawaddy – 7 April 2010:

‘Another Birthday behind Bars’

Click to go read about Amnesty International's letter campaign (Google translation)
Letter campaign for Zayar Thaw

Dig deeper

Amnesty International in Belgium – letter campaign for Zayar Thaw:

‘Myanmar student activist six years down’ [Google translation]

Blog ‘Please Help Burma’ – 24 June 2008:

‘Youth activist faces unlawful association charges – Zayar Thaw’

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