Musician and journalist Roger Lucey’s music was banned during apartheid in South Africa. In this interview he speaks about his personal experiences with music censorship: it’s impact on the artist, about the long term effects of censorship in a society such as South Africa, and how to deal with the past.
|The video interview was recorded by Ole Reitov in Harare in Zimbabwe in April 2005. His performance was recorded by Mik Aidt at Babylon in Istanbul on 27 November 2006.
Roger Lucey took part in presenting the session ‘On tour with the enemy’ at the third Freemuse World Conference which was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in November 2006.
Roger Lucey was born in South Africa in 1954. Started writing songs and singing in Durban in the 1970’s. Moved to Johannesburg in late 1970’s and recorded his first album there which was banned for possession and distribution. Second album was also restricted. During this time security police engaged in covert activity to silence him. After several years of crisis he started working for an international tv news agency. Lucey is a main character in the Freemuse film ‘Stopping the Music’. After several years of silence, he has now started recording and performing again.
Roger Lucey: “In many ways Freemuse came into my life at a time when I was about to give up on music completely. The trauma of having my voice silenced, especially in the covert way that it was done made it very difficult for me to come back and do the thing that I loved more than any other. (Freemuse director) Marie Korpe and (Freemuse programme officer) Ole Reitov initiated a process that enabled me to understand the pain and anger that came from that experience and to meet my nemesis, Paul Erasmus. I am now able to write and play with a new freedom where the past is in its place and future is an open road.”
In 2007 Roger Lucey was invited to be an ‘ambassador’ for Freemuse.
“This was the kind of recognition that ten years ago I could only have dreamed of. But it is not only me that Freemuse have helped in the crisis that so often befalls musicians who speak their minds; Look at the support and strength they have given to Ferhat Tunc, Marcel Khalife and so many others whose voices the authorities were so eager to silence. Music censorship is an evil that must me relegated to the dark past,” stated Roger Lucey.
Basque singer Fermin Muguruza suffers from concert prohibitions
Already before yesterday’s concert in Valencia and today’s show in Borriana (Castellon) were called off, it came to incidents. The official reason, which the organizer in Valencia mentioned, were threats of neo-fascist groups. One could reckon with encroachments because of demonstrations. But instead of forbidding the demos of the fascists, the concerts were obstructed. Even more rude and more obvious was the situation in Borriano. First the organizers of the Sala Duende had stood held to the pressure. Then they were ordered to the Guardia civil and the mayor threatened with closing the restaurant, if the concert took place.
In the meantime the concerts in the Spanish capital Madrid planned on 28 and 29 January have been cancelled. This is also tragic, because they are part of an action week for the zapatistic resistance in Mexico. Last weekend a concert of the basque groups of Berri Txarrak and Leihotikan was already suspended in the Spanish capital.
For years the governing conservative People’s Party (PP) and the organisation “Victims of Terror” (AVT) proceed against basque groups. AVT sued Muguruza, Su Ta Gar and Soziedad Alkoholika, because they “called out for terrorism”. Muguruza called the basque separatist-organisation ETA to ceasefire, but his commitment for the rights of the political prisoners and against torture is still regarded as a provocation. Even more as he ran for parties of the left basque movement of independence.
The attack of the nationally organized death squadron (GAL) in the hotel Monbar left its mark on the ex-front man of Kortatu and Negu Gorriak. During this incident in the middle of the 1980’s, three basque persons living in exile in Southern France were murdered, Muguruza was present. Already last year 400 artists and intellectuals had turned against the prohibitions. In a communist manifesto, which was signed also by Carlo Taibo, Ignacio Ramonet and Vázquez Montalbán, was written: “The suspension of concerts and the black tide of lies and wrong accusations in some medias are bad news, an attack on culture, the common sense, injustice”.
Muguruza announced, he would continue his tour. In February he will reach France, Switzerland and Germany, where the first concert takes place on 11 February in Munich.
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