• Art Under Threat: Attacks on artistic freedom in 2015

    Freemuse Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015 Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in 2015 in over 70 countries. In total, Freemuse registered 469 cases of censorship and attacks on artists and violations of […]
  • Syria: Fleeing civil war, piano player travels towards Germany

    AFP’s Rana Moussaoui and NBC News’ Jacob Rascon have published new reports of what further happened to 27-year-old piano player Aeham al-Ahmad, whose piano was burned by jihadists in April 2015 after his songs of hope amid the rubble of Syria’s largest Palestinian camp had become a social media sensation. Like tens of thousands of […]
  • Freemuse presents: ‘From Zombies to Revolutionaries’

    Music is the Weapon… of the Present! Middle East’s Revolutionary Artists meet Fela Anikulapo Kuti One was beaten, one was imprisoned, all have been questioned by the police and most are facing censorship. But their music cannot be stopped. Freemuse is proud to present a unique track with a group of today’s most powerful Arab […]
  • Syria: ISIL burns music instruments of ‘Peace Ambassador’ artist

    On 17 April 2015, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) burnt the musical instruments of the young Palestinian pianist Ayham Al Ahmad, reported Syria Live Network. Ayham Al Ahmad is well-known for his music expressing the tragedies of the Syrian war, which he has performed amid the devastated buildings in the Yarmouk Palestinian […]
  • Syria: Islamic State issues ban on songs by American singer

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has distributed many leaflets in Syria to prohibit youth from listening to the songs of the American singer Madonna, reported Al Arabiya, MBC and over 40 other news providers and websites. ISIL stated that Madonna’s songs are ‘haram’ (forbidden in Islam), since […]
  • Germany: Syrian singer beaten after his performance in Berlin

    The famous Syrian singer Hussein El Deek was severely beaten and abused during his recent visit to Berlin, the German capital, because of his pro-government stance. He was attacked by Syrians in a restaurant. A group of Syrians had organised a campaign against his participation in a live concert, so they held a demonstration in […]
  • Syria: Documentary film about Syrian songwriter

    The 30-minute documentary ‘Morning fears, Night Chants’ from 2012 about a young Syrian songwriter touches upon a number of artsfreedom issues, such as the important role of artists during the Arabic revolutions, the threats and challenges they face and especially the extra challenges and censorship women artists face from family, religious groups and the regime. […]
  • Suppression of artsfreedom in Middle East and North Africa discussed in UN

    The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in conjunction with Freemuse and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry organised a discussion panel on Friday 13 March 2015 on the sidelines of the 28th Human Rights Council session in Geneva, discussing several forms of suppression of artistic freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa. The panel, the […]
  • Libya: Photos of instrument-burning distributed online

    An information office of The Islamic State, Isis, in Libya has published photos of its militants burning musical instruments they said were confiscated in line with the radical group’s interpretation of Sharia law. Instrumental music is banned according to the extreme form of Salafi Islam practiced by Islamic State. » Photos: www.dump.to/hesba11 المكتب الإعلامي لولاية […]
  • Syria/USA: Exiled pianist portrayed in remarkable documentary

    National Geographic released its documentary film ‘Notes For My Homeland’ featuring USA-based, Syrian composer and pianist Malek Jandali’s musical journey to Carnegie Hall. » See the film here “The Syrian-American composer and pianist has performed in leading concert halls around the world and has also written a song so powerful that his parents were beaten in […]
  • Syria: Musicians punished for playing ‘un-Islamic’ instruments

    In Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria, the ISIS religious police is reported to have beaten up four young men for playing music using socalled ‘un-Islamic’ instruments such as a keyboard and lute, reported Daily Mail. Images posted on a popular file sharing site showed ISIS policemen hitting the young […]
  • Syria: Surviving civil war with heavy metal

    Armed with a cellphone and borrowed camera, the young Syrian Monzer Darwish seeks refuge in producing a ‘rockumentary’ about Heavy Metal music in Syria. His documentary film called ‘Syrian Metal Is War’ is currently being edited in Lebanon. A trailer was published on youtube.com in January 2014: Syrian Metal Is War – Documentary Promo Published […]
  • Syria: The soundtrack of Syrian resistance

    Music has been at the core of the Syrian uprising since its beginning in 2011, and for the same reason musicians have been killed and are being silenced by force. It is part of an attempt to impose political and religious agendas, reports Spanish-Syrian activist Leila Nachawati, who is a professor of Communications at Carlos […]
  • Syria: Music banned in northern province

    In a statement, the organisation The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has “banned music and songs in cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in shop windows,” warning that “whoever violates these rules will subject themselves to the necessary Sharia punishment.” “Songs and music are forbidden in […]
  • Syrian pianist Malek Jandali: “We need freedom for true art”

    This post is cross-posted via Global Voices Online from Syria Untold. When Syrians took to the streets in March 2011, they rebelled not only against the ruling Assad family, but also against the obscurantism that had been imposed on them for decades. Art as a whole, and music in particular, have played a crucial role in […]
  • Syria: ‘Silenced voices’

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Silenced voices In Syria, music is a mirror which shows the soul of the listener. The hedonist youth of Damascus sees fuel for the fun of their parties, fundamentalists suspect moral corruption, the authocratic regime fears the output of subversive minds. And just a few young musicians perceive a magic language of […]
  • Syria: Protest singer Ibrahim Kashoush had his throat cut

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria:Protest singer Ibrahim Kashoush had his throat cut “One of many grim videos to emerge from the Syrian city of Hama purported to show the body of protester Ibrahim Kashoush after his throat had been cut by the security forces,” reported the British newspaper The Guardian on 5 July 2011 at 4:41 PM. […]
  • Syria: Parents beaten because of their son’s music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Parents beaten because of their son’s music Malek Jandali, a pianist who performed at a rally in Washington in support of the Syrian opposition, blamed his work for what he said was an attack by Syrian government security forces on his parents on 28 July 2011. Malek Jandali, who is a US […]
  • Syria: Ibrahim Kashoush – Silencing the singer

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Article in Al Jadid:Silencing the singer An article by the editor of the Los Angeles-based Al Jadid magazine, Elie Chalala, who has compiled exerpts of Arab writers revealing aspects of the late singer Ibrahim Kashoush’s life. “A day after he had sang in protest in the square of his hometown, Ibrahim Kashoush was […]
  • Syria: 35 top artists reported to have left the country

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: 35 top artists reported to have left the country Within just three months, 35 artists from the first row of stars in Syria have decided to move to recidences outside of the country, reported SyrianRevolution.org on 24 October 2011. According to a press statement from the Syrian Association of Artists, this is […]
  • Syria: 29-year-old musician arrested

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria:29-year-old musician arrested Musician and composer Wael Adham Alkak, 29, is reported to have been arrested by Syrian authorities on 10 May 2011 at 9 PM at the Syrian-Lebanese border. He has since then been held incommunicado at an unknown location. According to Freemuse’s source, Wael Adham Alkak was arrested by the Syrian Secret Intelligence […]
  • USA: Singer discriminated by anti-discrimination group

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA:Singer discriminated by anti-discrimination group Syrian-American musician Malek Jandali was disinvited from performing at an anti-discrimination convention because of a pro-freedom song he was due to perform. The organisers, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, soon found themselves in a media storm of criticism, and after days of bad press and just hours before the convention […]
  • Syria: Musicians call for outright revolution

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Musicians call for outright revolution The lyrics to the latest underground anthem of the Syrian uprising are bold and could galvanize a movement that has spread in fits, wrote Los Angeles Times on 5 April 2011 “Statement number one / the Syrian people are revolting…” The song ‘Biyan raqam wahid’ (‘Communique No […]
  • Syria: Danish pop singer interrogated by secret service

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Danish pop singer interrogated by secret service Mazen Ismail, a 25-year-old Danish pop singer and a student at the University of Damascus studying Arabic as an exchange student in Syria, was picked up by armed guard and interrogated by the Syrian secret service, reported the Danish newspaper BT During a three-hour interrogation, […]
  • Syria: Interrogated and harassed for listening to metal music

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Interrogated and harassed for listening to metal music Young people in Syria are interrogated by the secret police if they listen to heavy metal music, writes Romuald Stankiewicz in this personal travel report from the country. By Romuald Stankiewicz I met Mohammed in Damascus. After finishing high school he came to this […]
  • Yemen: Singer threatened to be killed if festival is allowed

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Yemen:Singer threatened to be killed if festival is allowed The First Aden Singing Festival stirs controversy in Yemen. A new fatwa (religious edict) bans music concerts in the country, and the famous Syrian singer Assala Nasry has been threatened that she will be killed if she enters the festival’s stage as scheduled on 14 […]
  • Yemen: Concert became courageous manifestation against terrorism

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Yemen:Concert in Aden became courageous manifestation against terrorism Syrian singer Assala Nasry defied death threats by al-Qaida members in Yemen before her concert in Aden. The concert became a huge success. Assala Nasry was nervous when she stepped into Aden’s airport with her mother and children. She had received four e-mails containing threats that […]
  • Syria: Kurdish singer Bave Selah released

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Kurdish singer Bave Selah released Bavê Selah was released on 5 March 2011, according to Gemyakurda.net. ‘Abd al-Rahman Mohammed ‘Omar, also spelled Abdulrahman Omer, and known by his artist name Bavê Selah, has received phone calls from many friends asking how he is. According to Gemyakurda.net he is fine, and he thanks […]
  • Syria: Campaign for singer who has been arrested by security agents

    NEWS Syria: Campaign for singer arrested by security agents Members of the Syrian security authorities have arrested the Kurdish singer Bavê Selah in his appartment in Aleppo on 24 January 2011, reported Kurdwatch. Amnesty International has started a campaign for his release. The reason for the arrest and Bavê Selah’s current whereabouts remain unknown. He […]
  • Syria: Musicians arrested for singing Kurdish songs

    NEWS Syria: Musicians arrested for singing Kurdish songs Seven men, including members of a wedding music band, were arrested at a Kurdish wedding party where they were singing. They are accused of singing patriotic Kurdish songs. The Kurdish organisation for the defence of human rights and public freedoms in Syria, DAD, reported that a patrol […]
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