• South Africa: Art destroyed and censored at University of Cape Town

    The following blog was written by Gabriel Clark-Brown, publisher and editor of the South African Art Times, owner of the South African Print Gallery in Cape Town, and graduate of the University of Cape Town with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art. The views expressed and research presented in this blog are those of the writer and […]
  • Freemuse focuses on female artists at Roskilde 2017

    Freemuse was all over the camping and festival grounds of 2017’s Roskilde Festival in Denmark (25 June – 1 July) engaging the approximately 130,000 visitors in learning about the inequality that female artists, including musicians, face in the art world, as well as the discrimination women face as being part of audiences experiencing art. While […]
  • India: Two female singers threatened by radicals and clerics

    As many as 46 clerics and Islamic organisations in the north-eastern state of Assam issued a fatwa banning teen female singer Nahid Afrin from singing at a musical show on 25 March. The fatwa comes just days after reports revealed that another female singer, Suhana Syed, has been receiving threats from radical Islamists for singing […]
  • Freemuse addresses women’s issues at UNESCO

    Women artists are at particular risk in many countries and are discriminated from performing in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. This was highlighted during an international seminar at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Women’s International Day, 8 March 2017. Freemuse Executive Director, Ole Reitov shared a panel with Deeyah Khan, filmmaker, producer and […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Music video and government initiatives split society

    A music video entitled ‘Hwages’, which loosely translates to “concerns”, featuring a trio of veiled female artists with colourful clothing underneath, playing together and singing about the oppression women face in Saudi Arabia has not only gone viral, but has also divided the country, reported The Independent on 5 January 2017. The women, while they […]
  • Pakistan: Singer interrupts show to rescue woman from harassment

    Pakistani singer and actor Atif Aslam briefly stopped his concert in Karachi on 14 January 2017 to rescue a female audience member who was being harassed by having security staff pull her up on stage and finding her a safer place to enjoy the show, reported Hindustan Times on 16 January 2017. Aslaf issued a […]
  • Iran: Band banned from festival due to women singing solo

    Kurdish band Dayrak Khatoon was banned from performing at the International Festival of Tribal Music in Kermanshah, in western Iran, due to the band including women who also sing solo, reported Kurdistan Human Rights Network on 22 January 2017. The organisation reported that a critical article was published in Marsad News accusing the band of […]
  • United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

    Eighty-five United Nations (UN) member states voted on 15 November 2016 calling upon Iranian authorities to take real steps in correcting its human rights record. The resolution builds upon last year’s adopted resolution where Iran accepted 130 recommendations made to its human rights record and practices stemming from the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process […]
  • Iran: Album by prominent musician denied distribution

    Majid Derakhshani’s latest album ‘Khoroosh’ will not be distributed in Iran, reported Payvand Iran News. The album, which translates to ‘Roar’, is comprised of Derakhshani’s music sung by Mojtaba Asgari and was tied up in legal red tape for over two years before the denial was issued. Further, the Ministry of Guidance’s security department has […]
  • Iran: Songwriter and poet released

    Iranian songwriter and poet Yaghma Golrouee was released on bail from detention on 9 December 2015 after being arrested on unclear charges on 30 November 2015, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA). Though the reason behind the arrest is still unknown, it is thought that Golrouee was detained in response to his new […]
  • Iran: Concert cancelled for having female musicians

    A concert by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra was cancelled at the last minute on 29 November 2015 because some of the musicians were female, reported The National.  The orchestra was due to play in Tehran before the World Wrestling Clubs Cup competition and was stopped from performing as it was readying itself to play the […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Concert with mixed gender audience cancelled

    A concert scheduled for 6 May 2015 at the major Jeddah Amasy concert hall was cancelled by authorities, according to the daily Saudi newspaper Ajel. Apparently the concert audience was planned to be of ‘mixed gender’, which incited an opposition campaign against the concert on social media. The event was to feature the popular young […]
  • Iran: Film about singer who outwitted ban on women singing solo

    Nothing like it had been attempted in Iran for 35 years. The Iranian singer and composer Sara Najafi proposed hosting a concert in Tehran – “a festival of the female voice” featuring solo singers. “Since the 1979 revolution, women in Iran have been banned from singing solo. So what happened when this woman decided to […]
  • Iran: 20-year-old musician’s reality check: oppression persists

    “Rights for musicians are extremely weak in Iran”, wrote Tooka Zokaie, a 20-year-old Iranian-American piano teacher and speech coach who travelled to Iran and unintentionally broke the law: “When I went to Iran this summer, almost everything I participated in related to music was illegal. I played piano to male audiences, participated in underground concerts […]
  • Pakistan: Women musicians speak out about ‘the gender challenge’

    In Pakistan today, women often find themselves unable to pursue music careers because of conservative family attitudes, political insecurity, and gender inequality. But certainly not all women, learned Sabrina Toppa, when she set out to investigate how the country’s ‘gender challenge’ affects musicians. Young, independent women are making a difference and a space for themselves […]
  • Iraq: Kurdish singer receives death threats over music video

    Kurdish singer Helly Luv, 25, allegedly received death threats from ISIS Islamist militants since release of her first music video in February 2014. Helly Luv’s music video combines traditional Middle Eastern pop imagery with materials of the Kurdish nationalist and revolutionary movement. The music video was viewed over three million times in its first five months. […]
  • Iran: Three arrested for music video of men and women singing and dancing

    Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country’s World Cup football team, the official IRNA news agency reported on 23 June 2014. The music video was produced by the London-based Ajam Band and features scenes from outside and […]
  • Pakistan: Pashto singer Gulnaz killed by four gunmen

    » Dawn / AFP – 19 June 2014: Pashto singer Gulnaz shot dead in Peshawar Pashto singer Gulnaz alias Muskan was killed in the Gulburg area of Peshawar Cantt. Police said unidentified gunmen entered the house of Gulnaz also known as Muskan and shot her dead. » Samaa – 19 June 2014: Pashto singer Gulnaz […]
  • Iran: Female musicians banned from stage in Isfahan

    Female musicians are not allowed to go onstage and give live performances in Isfahan. Mohammad Qotbi, the head of the Isfahan Culture and Guidance administration and also a member of the clergy, compared music bands to the national football team, saying that just as there are substitutes for players on the football team, music groups […]
  • Freemuse to the United Nations: Iran discriminates women artists

    Iran should eliminate discrimination against women artists and abolish censorship of artistic expressions, stated Freemuse in its submission to the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of Iran in March 2014. For decades the Islamic Republic of Iran has put severe restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression. Although the country in 2010 during […]
  • Artists are truth tellers risking their lives for us

    Our consideration of the human rights in any country should include the freedom of artists to express their heart, writes Deeyah Khan – a critically acclaimed music producer, composer and an Emmy award-winning documentary film director – in this statement she submitted to the United Nations in March 2014. Video recording of Deeyah Khan’s speech […]
  • Tanzania – Zanzibar: ‘Give sex or be blacklisted’

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Zanzibar, Tanzania:‘Give sex or be blacklisted’ Why do we see and hear little of women musicians in Zanzibar? Read Lingson Adam’s report from an island where radio-DJs are known to have ‘blacklisted’ female musicians who refused them sexual favours, and where parents and husbands are reported to be at the core of strong […]
  • Sweden: Explicit lyrics cause heated debate about women’s sexuality

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Sweden: Explicit lyrics cause heated debate about women’s sexuality In Sweden a song by Frida Muranius has caused furore. After being banned on two regional public service radio stations, the song lyrics are debated in newspapers, radio, web forums and court yards in the country. Almost everyone has an opinion about Muranius’ sexually […]
  • Iran: About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanistic’ music event

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanic’ music event The news agency Reuters reports that more than 200 people were arrested during a police raid on an underground rap and rock concert in Iran. The raid was a part of an annual summer crackdown on “immoral behavior”. In Iran, alcohol as well as […]
  • 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 […]
  • Canada: ‘Gangsta rap’ seeked banned

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Canada:‘Gangsta rap’ seeked banned in music stores A Toronto activist has filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission against Canadian music store chain selling ‘gangsta rap’ that glorifies the mistreatment of women The Canadian activist Valerie Smith is represented by the lawyer Cynthia Watson of Watson Labour Lawyers – a cutting […]
  • Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Googoosh: Iran’s DaughterThe film by Farhad Zamani tells the story of Googoosh – Iran’s pop diva, who is still banned from performing in her homeland. Googoosh was Iran’s most famous and beloved pop diva, until she was silenced following the 1979 Islamic revolution when female singers were labeled “temptresses” and forbidden to release records […]
  • Singer ‘strips’ over censorship

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Singer ‘strips’ over censorshipAlanis Morissette wore a “nude suit” on stage at Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys to complain about censorship in the US.Morissette, who was hosting the Juno Awards in Edmonton on Sunday, wore the cartoon-style bodysuit in protest at TV and radio censorship in the US. Story from BBC Read more: […]
  • Iran: The nations’ top singer opted for a life in exile

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: The nations’ top singer opted for a life in exile Marzieh was a celebrated interpreter of traditional Persian music whose career in her native Iran was silenced by the clerical dictatorship. In exile in France she became a sharp voice of political dissent. With a repertoire of 1,000 songs spanning classical and […]
  • Russia: Detention of Pussy Riot members extended again

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:Detention of Pussy Riot members extended again On 20 June 2012, a Tagansky district court ruled to keep the three detained band members of Pussy Riot in prison until 24 July 2012 while the police probe continues. Since February 2012, three band members of the all-female punk rock band from Moscow have been […]
  • Pakistan: Popular singer gunned down in music market

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Popular singer gunned down in music market A young singer, Ghazala Javed, was shot dead on 18 June 2012 along with her father by two unknown armed men The incident happened in the busy Mohallah Nau of Dabgari Garden in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, where the singer was […]
  • France: Rap lyrics targeted

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## France:Rap lyrics targeted The French Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls wants to fight “aggressive” rap lyrics attacking the state, insulting the flag and women. This is the conclusion after a member of the senate had chosen to question him on the subject of what she called “absolutely unprecedented violence against France”. Manuel […]
  • Egypt: “I’m the only woman in Egypt who screams”

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Video recordings from ‘All that is Banned is Desired’:“I’m the only woman in Egypt who screams” In the session ‘OVERCOMING: WOMEN; ART AND EGYPT’, filmmaker Petr Lom introduces a dialogue between musician Sherine Amr and writer, theatre director and actress Sondos Shabayek. Sherine Amr has described herself as “the only woman in Egypt who screams”. […]
  • Pakistan: Death sentences for dancing at a wedding party

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Death sentences for dancing at a wedding party Pakistani media is bringing confusing reports from northern Pakistan about a tribal court which allegedly handed down death penalty to four women and two men for dancing at a wedding party. Rumours said the four women from Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhunkhwa were shot […]
  • Russia: Detention of Pussy Riot members extended to three months

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:Detention of Pussy Riot members extended to three months Following the punk group Pussy Riot’s protest song in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February 2012, Russian authorities arrested three women who are held in detention until their case comes before court on 24 June. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were arrested on […]
  • Brazil: Ban on songs that encourage violence against women and gays

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Brazil: Ban on songs that encourage violence against women and gays The Brazilian state Bahia has approved a law banning the use of public funds to pay for events where songs that offend women and gays are played. The state legislature of the north-eastern state of Bahia approved the law on 27 March […]
  • Malaysia/Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia / Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer Christian and Muslim groups attempt to ban American superstar Lady Gaga’s shows during her Asia tour, calling her music, persona and style the ‘work of Satan’, while tens of thousands of her fans in Seoul, Jakarta and Manila campaign for the […]
  • Norway: Rap duo threatened with violence

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Norway: Rap duo threatened with violence The rap duo Prayaz from Holmlia in the Norwegian capital Oslo sing about violence against women, and they are themselves threatened with violence because of that, reported the Norwegian public service broadcaster NRK. “What really struck us was the message that we should remember what happened to […]
  • Israel: Women sing out in musical protest against orthodox prohibition

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Israel: Women sing out in musical protest against orthodox prohibition In response to the orthodox prohibition against women singers. Hila Bunyovich-Hoffman has announced a Tel Aviv street protest in which a group of women will stand in public and sing, to make their voices heard. On Friday 11 November 2011, Hila Bunyovich-Hoffman and […]
  • Sweden: Death threats to DJ for Facebook debate about gender issues

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Sweden: Death threats to DJ for Facebook debate about gender issues A seemingly uncontroversial post on the Facebook profile of the club and concert hall Slakthuset in Stockholm resulted in death threats against DJ Tova Wellton. “Book more women, please” said Tova Wellton’s Facebook post to Slakthuset that ended in a heated debate […]
  • Israel: Singer punished with 39 lashes by rabbis

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Israel: Singer punished with 39 lashes by rabbis “Artists who make men and women attend performances or dance together, have no place in the world to come,” says the Israeli rabbi Ben Zion Mutsafi. Because of a performance in front of a “mixed audience” of men and women, the singer Erez Yechiel was […]
  • Iran: 80 young people arrested at illegal concert

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:80 young people arrested at illegal concert Iranian police detained 80 young men and women for “lustful pleasure-seeking” activities at an illegal concert, Tehran’s chief prosecutor was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying. Public prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted in the Kayhan newspaper on 7 May 2010 as saying that moral […]
  • Iran: Concert banned because of presence of women musicians

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran Concert banned because of presence of women musicians Iranian authorities have cancelled a concert of traditional Iranian singer Homayoun Shajarian because two members of the band are women, the ISNA news agency reported. Homayoun Shajarian is the son of Mohammad Reza Shajarian – a legendary singer in Iran. Homayou has performed with […]
  • Somalia: Interview with Somali music shop owner in exile

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia / Kenya:Interview with Somali music shop owner in exile Fatma Adow is one of 25 women who on November 2008 faced the wrath of Somali militiamen the for taking part in a folklore dance galore in Somalia. She was interviewed in her Kenyan exile by Suleiman Mbatiah for IslamOnline.net “How can our […]
  • France: Censorship row over festival’s ban on rapper

    NEWS 20 July 2009 France: Censorship row over festival’s ban on rapper 27-year-old rapper Orelsan was removed from the programme of a major French music festival in the last minute — and then quickly became the centre of a national debate over censorship. Should rappers be able to sing whatever they like in the name […]
  • Pakistan: Singer shot dead by her brothers

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Singer shot dead by her brothers Pashto singer Shamim Aiman Udas was murdered on 26 April 2009. According to her husband, she was killed by her own brothers, reported the Pakistani newspapers Daily Times and The News. Immediately after the killing of Aiman Udas, it was largely suspected that religious militants might have […]
  • USA: American pop singer pressured to rerecord song

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA / United Kingdom:American pop singer pressured to rerecord song When American pop singer Britney Spears’ hit song ‘If U Seek Amy’ risked censorship on radio stations because of a controversy over its use of a ‘sexually offensive’ double entendre in the chorus, she decided to rerecord the song and publish a less […]
  • North Korea: Three years in prison for simply singing a wrong song

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## North Korea:Three years in prison for simply singing a wrong song Because she had sung a South Korean folk song and taught it to four others in 1992, the North Korean singer Ji Hae Nam (Hae-Nam Ji) was imprisoned for three years, tortured and sexually abused. “Normally, concerts in North Korea are limited […]
  • EU/USA: Pressure on Muslim women to stay out of music

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## United Kingdom / Europe / USA:Pressure on Muslim women to stay out of music Within a growing scene for Islamic hip-hop in the United Kingdom, women rappers are facing a tough time. When a woman tries to break into the scene she is often intimidated, or even threatened, reported the New Statesman magazine. […]
  • Iran: Setar master openly critised ban on women vocalists

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Setar master openly critised ban on woman vocalists Mohammad-Reza Lotfi – a highly recognised musician thoughout Iran as well as the rest of the world – said at a press conference that he wishes to eliminate Iran’s prohibition on solo vocal performances by women, reported the Tehran Times. “I don’t believe in […]
  • USA: Feminist critique censored for indecency

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA:Feminist critique censored for indecency The Federal Communications Commission censored Sarah Jones’ song ‘Your revolution’ for indecency. Ironically, Jones’s song is in fact feminist critique and a statement against indecency and more particularly the sexual exploitation of women in pop music. The spoken-word song ‘Your revolution’ was aired on the KBOO-FM radio station […]
  • China: Once banned Taiwanese singer regains popularity

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## China:Once banned Taiwanese singer regains popularity Beijing officials who seven years ago banned the music of pop star Chang Hui-mei, better known as A-mei, now use her name to improve political ties between mainland China and the small island of Taiwan, reported Reuters on 13 September 2007. By Martin Buch Larsen, Freemuse Taiwan’s […]
  • China/Tibet: “singing nun” released

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Tibet, the A.R. of China: Last “singing nun” released from prison, exiled The release of 34-year-old Tibetan nun Phuntsog Nyidron into exile in the United States on 15 March 2006 marks the end of the imprisonment in Tibet for a group of women who became known as the “singing nuns” of Drapchi prison, […]
  • Iran: Gissoo Shakeri – “Voice of women who cannot sing”

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:Gissoo Shakeri: “My voice is the voice of the women who cannot sing” Singer Gissoo Shakeri works are banned in Iran, but her songs can be listened to freely over the internet. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Mary Lou Greenberg from the magazine Revolution, and lyrics from one of her […]
  • India: American singer censored on tv

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## India:American singer censored on tv Paris Hilton’s music video ‘Stars Are Blind’ has been banned because of “sexual connotations”. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has issued an “A” (Adult) certification for the music video which is part of Hilton’s debut album, ‘Paris’. It was released in Mumbai on 22 August 2006. […]
  • Maryam Mursal

    MARYAM MURSALComposer and vocalist (Somalia) ##PagePublishedLong## Maryam Mursal (born 1950) is a famous musician and singer from Somalia, residing in exile in Denmark. In this interview which was recorded after her performance at a festival in the town Haderslev in Denmark in July 2006, she explains that music is not forbidden according to Islam. “Music […]
  • Mahsa Vahdat

    MAHSA VAHDAT(Iran) 02 September 2010 Singer Mahsa Vahdat from Iran talks about the religious ban on women singing in her country. Mahsa Vahdat, born in Tehran in 1973, was awarded with the 2010 Freemuse Award at a ceremony in London on 25 March 2010. She is strong defenders of freedom of musical expression and well-known […]
  • Central African Republic: Ban on disrespectful songs about women

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Central African Republic:Ban on songs which encourage men to dump their wives The government of the Central African Republic has ordered radio and television stations to stop broadcasting songs which encourage men to dump their wives, saying such music is a hindrance to the country’s development, reports Reuters “It’s out of the question […]
  • India: Bhangra dance banned in Jamshedpur

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## India: Bhangra dance banned in Jamshedpur Sikh religious leaders in the city of Jamshedpur has banned women from the community from dancing the vigorous Punjabi bhangra on the streets during celebrations “There will be a complete ban on women’s participation in bhangra. Those found guilty of violating the directive will have pay 2,100 rupees.” This […]
  • Iran: Mahsa Vahdat – Singing in the absence of others

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Singing in the Absence of Others The young musician and singer Mahsa Vahdat speaks with Naghmeh Taqizadeh from TehranAvenue about the challenges of being a woman in a society that has so many restrictions on female voice By Naghmeh Taqizadeh – nagh@tehranavenue.com Mahsa Vahdat is a young musician and singer who has worked […]
  • Iran: Reviewer of music book sentenced to jail

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Reviewer of music book sentenced to jail Banafsheh Samgis, a cultural critic at the newspaper Iran, has been sentenced to jail for writing that the prophet Muhammed liked music played by women Banafsheh Samgis has been accused of “insulting and undermining the holy tenets of islam” and “distorting Islamic history” in a favorable review she […]
  • The music industry from the perspective of women

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## The music industry from the perspective of women These are the stories of two African women, living in a Muslim country, but more important is that these are the stories of two musicians and feminists. Above all, the author would like to point out that there are many similarities between these women and other women […]
  • Women and Music Censorship – Past to Present

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Women and Music Censorship – Past to Presentby Eva Fenn A summary of the restrictions women have had as singers, as composers and as instrumentalists from the Middle Ages until today, illustrated with individual examples Read the article as PDF Eva Fenn is BA-student in “Popular Music and Media”, Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, University of […]
  • Zimbabwean gospel diva Fungisai Zvakavapano denied UK visa

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Zimbabwean gospel diva Fungisai Zvakavapano denied UK visaThe singer was last week denied entry into the United Kingdom where she was billed to perform at three concerts.Zvakavapano was refused admission to the country by British Embassy officials despite getting a work permit from the Home Office in Britain. London-based Zimbabwe news website, newzimbabwe.com, quoted […]
  • Popular Iranian singer Googoosh kept out of the US

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Popular Iranian singer Googoosh kept out of the US It was going to be another chance for fans to see the legendary Iranian singer named Googoosh, but the U.S.-led war on terrorism has had unintended consequences on Tehran’s most popular artists, who are finding it almost impossible to practice their craft in the […]
  • Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee In March 2004, the Lebanese Surete Generale censored a video clip entitled “Why are You Emigrating?” by Najwa Karam, a well known singer. The Censorship department at The Surate Generale linked the content of the video clip to the clashes that occurred between security forces […]
  • Venue expels Linda Ronstadt after political remarks

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Venue expels Linda Ronstadt after political remarksUS singer Linda Ronstadt was booed and removed from a Las Vegas casino for praising film-maker Michael Moore and his film Fahrenheit 9/11 during a show. Ronstadt called Moore a “great American patriot” and “someone who is spreading the truth” during a performance at the Aladdin venue […]
  • Iranian rapper talks a fine line

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iranian rapper talks a fine lineHe is more bow tie and suit than bling bling and Nikes, but Iran’s first rap performer is still managing to unnerve the Iranian religious authorities with his social criticism. Chart-topping Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh targets unemployment, poverty and westernised Iranian girls in his new album, which the culture ministry […]
  • Iran: Women & music censorship

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Women & music censorship Background material on music and censorship in Iran“Under wraps on the stage: women in the performing arts in post-revolutionary Iran” (1998)Since the 1979 Revolution in Iran, women have been key contributors to contemporary Iranian cinema, and to a lesser extent theatre and music. Contrary to the Western belief […]
  • Singapore upholds Janet Jackson ban

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Singapore upholds Janet Jackson banOfficials in Singapore have thrown out an appeal against a ban on Janet Jackson’s album, ‘All For You’. The Publications Appeal Committee, a panel of academics and professionals, decided that the lyrics of the album, particularly one song, Would You Mind, were “not acceptable to our society”. The record […]
  • Singer Lee Jones attacks Bush

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Singer Lee Jones attacks BushAmerican singer Rickie Lee Jones has attacked the policies of the Bush administration on her latest record – despite the potential risk to her career. “I usually reflect things totally internally. But I think what is happening in America is so disturbing to me, it becomes internal”. Story from […]
  • Postscript to report on censorship in Zimbabwe

  • Sarah Jones and FCC

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Sarah Jones and FCC” I think they should have the right to censor anybody, but my song didn’t have any of the seven “dirty words” that you’re not allowed to say on American radio.” American hip-hop poet and performance artist Sarah Jones on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling her song, Your Revolution […]
  • Woman singer angers Afghan judges

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Woman singer angers Afghan judgesAfghanistan’s supreme court has complained to the government over the appearance of an Afghan woman singing on state television “This has to be stopped,” Deputy Chief Justice Fazel Ahmed Manawi told the Reuters news agency. Story from BBC;http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3396283.stm Read more:
  • Amal Murkus

    AMAL MURKUSSinger and actress (Palestine/Israel)
  • Afghan TV U-turn on women singers

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Afghan TV U-turn on women singersAfghan state television has gone back on a decision to show female singers, saying the country is not yet ready for such broadcasts. A song by the popular artist, Salma, was shown on Monday, the first time such images were broadcast since 1992. But the programming chief of […]
  • Taiwan star silenced by China row

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Taiwan star silenced by China rowA Taiwanese pop singer has cancelled a concert in China after a protest accusing her of supporting independence for the island, Taiwan media reports. Chang Hui-mei, popularly known to her fans as A-mei, was due to perform in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. Story from BBC Read […]
  • Freemuse report on music censorship in Zimbabwe

    FREEMUSE REPORT Banning EyrePlaying with Fire: Fear and Self-Censorship in Zimbabwean Music.Freemuse, Copenhagen, October 2001, ISSN 1601-2127Banning Eyre, one of the United States’ foremost journalists on African music, on the situation in Mugabe’s increasingly repressive Zimbabwe. Watch video from the official presentation of the report at WOMEX 2001, click Read abstract Read the reportRead postscript, […]
  • Patti Smith

    PATTI SMITHSinger and musician (USA)
  • Afghanistan: Official sacked over concert with singers without headscarves

    NEWS Afghanistan: Official sacked over concert with singers without headscarves The organiser of a concert where the singers Farzana Naz and Rita Wagma appeared on stage without headscarves was fired after religious elders had complained that this was inappropriate. Farzana Naz was the first female performer to appear on stage in Helmand in decades, one […]
  • Freemuse Award 2010: Winners honoured in London

    NEWS 29 March 2010 Iran | Turkey:Freemuse Award winners honoured in London Freemuse Award winners 2010: Ferhat Tunç, with the award statuette created by Swedish glass designer Göran Wärff, and Mahsa Vahdat. Mahsa Vahdat and Ferhat Tunç, the joint winners of the Freemuse Award 2010, gave a short and impressive performance at the Index Awards […]
  • Afghanistan: Ban on women singers debated in Herat

    NEWS Afghanistan: Ban on women singers debated in Herat A Morality and Knowledge Association recently established in Herat wants to ban women’s voices from the airwaves, reported Jean MacKenzie and Rateb Muzhda from Herat The privately owned association has about 60 staffers, says its director, Aminullah Mohtasem, all of whom work voluntarily. Jean MacKenzie and […]
  • Afghanistan: Afghan idol: ‘My life is under threat’

    NEWS     Afghanistan: Afghan idol: ‘My life is under threat’ 20-year-old Lima Sahar charmed her way into the third spot of the 2008 version of the wildly popular ‘Afghan Star’ competition, beating more than 2,000 rivals in votes sent by mobile telephone text message. Now in exile, she fears for her life.   A […]
  • USA/UK: Norwegian singer Deeyah wins Freedom Award

    NEWS USA / UK / Norway:Norwegian singer Deeyah wins Freedom Award Deeyah, the exiled Norwegian singer and activist, was awarded with an ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize at a ceremony in London on 26 November 2008. More than 900 artists from 86 countries had been nominated. Three artists, Deeyah along with Turkish-Kurdish Ferhat Tunç and […]
  • Somalia: 32 traditional dancers lashed in public

    NEWS 18 November 2008 Somalia: 32 traditional dancers lashed in public On 14 November 2008 an Islamist group arrested and whipped 25 women and seven men because they had been singing and dancing By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays On Friday night 14 November 2008, militiamen from the Union of Islamic Courts raided a traditional folklore dancing […]
  • Afghanistan: Short video about music and ‘community censorship’

    FILM Afghanistan: Stones thrown at female singer In a short documentary video about music and ‘community censorship’ in Afghanistan, the 19-year-old Afghan singer Mariam says she gets verbal abuse all the time as well as stones thrown at her in the street. Even though Mariam is regularly insulted and attacked, and her family wants to stop […]
  • Sudan: Censored singer tries to reform Janjaweed ‘hate singers’

    NEWS Sudan:Censored singer tries to reform ‘hate singers’ While struggling with censorship in Khartoum, the Sudanese singer-songwriter Abazar Hamid hopes to bring peace to Sudan with his music. He travels to rural areas of the country where he tries to reform the traditional Arab ‘hate singers’ known as the Janjaweed women. Abazar Hamid told his […]
  • Afghanistan: Restrictions on music discussed in parliament

    NEWS Afghanistan: Restrictions on music discussed in parliament On 1 April 2008 a commission for cultural and religious affairs in Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament suggested to impose new restrictions on music and dance performance in Afghanistan. By Samay Hamed reporting for Freemuse from Kabul The main articles in the proposal from the commission for cultural […]
  • Afghanistan: Singer becomes symbol in the struggle for music freedom

    NEWS     Afghanistan: Young singer becomes symbol in the struggle for music freedom 18-year-old Lima Sahar has placed herself in the middle of Afghanistan’s continous gender and music struggle. She could become the winner of the tv show ‘Afghan Star’ – the war-torn country’s answer to ‘American Idol’ which is drawing millions of viewers […]
  • Ghazal Ahmadi

    Ghazal Ahmadi(Afghanistan) 25 February 2008 Ghazal Ahmadi is a film actress in Afghanistan, and is also known for performing in music videos. Click on the photo two times to start the video. Wimpy Wasp Player In this interview Ghazal Ahmadi speaks about her experience as a music student who stopped learning how to play the […]
  • Sahar Afarin

    Sahar Afarin (Afghanistan)   Sahar Afarin is an up-and-coming star. She had her national break-through in 2006 when she recieved the honourary titles ‘Artist of Radio Television Afghanistan’ and ‘Golden Star of National TV’. Click on the photo two times to start the video.   Flash Player upgrade required   In this interview the 21-year-old […]
  • Afghanistan: Female musicians put their lives in danger

    ARTICLE 15 January 2008 Afghanistan:Female musicians put their lives in danger A report from a music school in Kabul, published in San Francisco Chronicle, is a story about the kind of difficulties and dangers female musicians face in present day Afghanistan. They must practice music under cover, work in secret, and be careful to protect […]
  • Afghanistan: Broadcast of Colombian singer censored

    NEWS Afghanistan: Broadcast of Colombian singer censored A performance by the Colombian pop star Shakira has provoked a row between the Afghan government and the country’s independent media, reports Tom Coghlan from Kabul for the British newspaper Daily Telegraph Senior Muslim clerics and members of Afghanístan’s Ministry of Culture warned the country’s largest private television […]
  • Afghanistan: Famed exiled singer returned after 18 years

    NEWS     Afghanistan: Famed exiled singer returned after 18 years One of “Afghanistan’s living treasures”, singer Farida Mahwash stepped foot in Afghanistan for the first time in almost two decades to give a series of benefit concerts in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif in October 2007, reported San Francisco Chronicle “I’ll have programs there and […]
  • Iran: ‘Half Moon’ – film about women’s right to sing

    FILMS Iran:Film about women’s right to sing ‘Half Moon’ is a feature film which talks of women’s right to perform in public, and to participate in the artistic development of a land They jump into an orange mini bus and begin the search for a female singer who will join their company – which is […]
  • 3rd Freemuse World Conference on Music and Censorship

    | Media coverage | Speakers | Programme | Photos | Video interviews |   3rd FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE ON MUSIC AND CENSORSHIP     25-26 November 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey Professional musicians, scholars, and composers from 22 countries met at the 3rd Freemuse World Conference. Over two intensive days, they documented how music censorship is being […]
  • Afghanistan: Fewer music prohibitions on religious grounds

    NEWS Afghanistan:Fewer music prohibitions on religious grounds According to a new report from U.S. Department of State conditions for music in Afghanistan are improving. The Afghan government rejects claims that Afghan authorities should have issued a list of restrictions on broadcasting in June 2006  The broadcasting restriction case is mentioned in a report which was released on […]
  • Afghanistan: Singing about women critised by imam

    NEWS Afghanistan:Singing about women critised by imam According to The Times’ correspondent in Kabul, Afghan DJ Besho has been criticised by an influential cleric among Afghanistan’s religious élite In public, few Afghans are willing to question the authority of the clergy or the inviolability of Islamic law. As such, it can have a significant influence […]
  • Afghanistan: Interview with Jamshid Matin X

    ARTICLES Afghanistan:“They may actually kill me”Presenting music on tv in Afghanistan can be a dangerous job. Recently, one tv presenter was killed, and two others had to go in exile. This is an interview with Jamshid Matin X – a presenter and producer for a daily music show and a Top 10 music show on […]
  • Algeria/France: Rai outlaw dies

    NEWS   Algeria/France: Raï outlaw dies The Algerian legendary raï music star, Cheikha Rimitti, passed away on May 15 in Paris, 83 years old Cheikha Rimitti has a 60-year track record in Algeria as an outlaw for singing songs openly encouraging women to have and enjoy sex, with lyrics so plain-talk frank they’d still send […]
  • Afghanistan: First female music performance in a decade

    NEWS Afghanistan: First female music performance in a decade As the first female singer to take to the stage in Afghanistan in more than a decade, Tajik singer Maniza Daulat performed for 1,500 male fans in Kabul. Afghanistan’s host of female singers, most of whom live overseas, are still reluctant to take to the stage, […]
  • Afghanistan: Strict self-censorship on Afghan music tv

    NEWS Afghanistan:Strict self-censorship on Afghan music tv “If I play that, I’ll get a letter the next day. Then, I’m out,” television producer Jamshid Matin told the Journal News on a visit in USA in November, 2005. Now back in Kabul, Jamshid was interviewed by Freemuse.By Ole Reitov, Freemuse How do you see the limits […]
  • Afghanistan: Bittersweet success of secret girl band

    ARTICLES Afghanistan: Bittersweet success of secret girl band The Afghan girl group, ‘Burka Band,’ continues to receive media attention and draw new fans, even though they are no longer active. The names of the three female band members remain secret to ensure their security. They are labelled “Afghanistan’s first serious pop band since the fall […]
  • Afghanistan: Wajiha Rastagar

    WAJIHA RASTAGAR(Afghanistan) The two wings against music censorship Wajiha Rastagar is one of the most famous Afghan female singers. Dr Samay Hamed talks with Wajiha Rastagar about her first steps towards music, how she became a singer, and how she sees the present situation in Afghanistan today An obvious symbol of freedom and change? If […]
  • Afghanistan: 24-year-old female presenter of music show killed

    NEWS 19 May 2005 Young TV music show presenter killed in KabulOn May 18, 2005, TV presenter Shaima Rezayee, 24, was shot in Kabul by unknown men. Her killing is possibly linked to her presenting of the music show ‘Hop’ on Tulo TV. Two months earlier, she had been dismissed from the show after it […]
  • Afghanistan pulls cable channels

    NEWS Afghanistan pulls cable channelsCable TV channels showing raunchy Bollywood movies and foreign music videos have – again – been taken off air in Afghanistan by the government. Viewers have been able to watch foreign channels, including much-loved Indian films, since the Taleban fell in 2001. Bollywood movies were banned under the hardline Taleban rulers.Cable […]
  • Shoot the Singer! Book

    SHOOT THE SINGER! MUSIC CENSORSHIP TODAY 25 May 2004 Edited by Marie Korpe (Executive Director, Freemuse), published by Zed Books, London.Publication date: 18 May 2004. CD included. Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today was presented on 18 May 2004 at a combined book launch and one-day seminar on music censorship at SOAS (School of Oriental […]
  • Shoot the Singer! – table of contents

    SHOOT THE SINGER ! TABLE OF CONTENTS Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today table of contents one | Introduction1 What is music censorship? Towards a better understanding of the termMartin Cloonan 2 Music as a parallel power structureAlenka Barber-Kersovan 3 Music as a useless activity: conservative interpretations of music in IslamJonas Otterbeck two | Asia4 […]
  • Aghan police beat musicians defying ban

    NEWS Aghan police beat musicians defying ban Police beat two Afghan musicians and threatened to bomb their office for violating a local ban on music reminiscent of that imposed by the former Taliban regime, a state-controlled newspaper reported today. The Anis Daily quoted the musicians as saying the incident occurred on Monday night at a […]
  • Ethnomusicological research in Afghanistan: Past, present, and future

    NEWS Ethno musicological research in Afghanistan: Past, present, and futureExtensive article by John Baily on musical life in Afghanistan.Article (PDF) Related reading MALI

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