Over four years, the annual Music Freedom Day — observed on 3 March — has grown into a truly global event which inspires increasing numbers of musicians and concert organisers to join, and informs millions of radio listeners about issues of freedom of expression for musicians.
Mumbai, Kabul, Cairo, Amman, Gdansk, The Hague and New York were some of the cities organising Music Freedom Day on 3 March in 2010 — a day which also saw the release of a new Freemuse CD entitled ‘Listen To The Banned’ and a hand-over of the petition for the release of imprisoned singer Lapiro de Mbanga to the Embassy of Cameroon in Paris.
“This Music Freedom Day event will go down in the annals of rock history,” wrote the American author Mark LeVine in Huffington Post about one of the Music Freedom Day concerts which took place in New York.
”For me, this event is a new birth for me. Thank you, Freemuse,“ said the exiled Sudanese musician Abazar in his speech at a concert venue in Cairo.
In Paris, France, Freemuse vice-chair Daniel Brown and Francois Mauger of Mondomix visited the Embassy of Cameroon to hand over the more than three thousand protests from all corners of the world demanding the release of the imprisoned singer Lapiro de Mbanga. The ambassador of Cameroon had decided to leave the embassy, and after several discussions with embassy staff, the Freemuse delegation was requested to come back later in March to hand over the petition to the ambassador.
Concerts and seminars
In The Hague in the Netherlands (Holland), a two day event was organised by MusicForce in collaboration with Freemuse. The Dutch Human Rights Ambassador, Mr. Arjan Hamburger, attended the opening event in Holland, which focused on rap and hip-hop culture. Read more…
Brainpower’s Music Freedom performance in The Hague
In New York in the US, Music Freedom Day was observed in three different places:
• In a new project called ‘The Impossible Music Sessions´ which connects censored artists from around the world with artists in New York, the Brooklyn-based Cruel Black Dove played a tribute to the music of the illegal Iranian band The Plastic Wave, who appeared via Skype and e-mail from Tehran.
“It was one of the more poignant moments I’ve witnessed in two decades as a musician and fan,” wrote Mark LeVine in Huffington Post: “This concert will go down in the annals of rock history for being the first time that a rock group watched another group perform its music on system like ooVoo because it was not allowed either to come themselves to perform.”
Home page | Venue.
• Pakistani rockstar Salman Ahmad, who now lives in the US, also joined Music Freedom Day. As a Freemuse Ambassador, Salman Ahmad performed in New York at Queens College’s LeFrak Concert Hall with the New York a six-piece ensemble Pharoah’s Daughter and the Argentinian composer Emilio Solla. The event was entitled ‘Common Chords Diversity Fiesta’. Read more…
• In East Harlem at the FB Lounge, the multi-Grammy nominated, 19 piece Bobby Sanabria Big Band marked the Music Freedom Day on 3 March. Read more…
The ‘Impossible Music Session 1´ witnessed by Mark LeVine started with a short film introducing the audience to The Plastic Wave and their situation. Everyone was hooked to the screen, reported Mark LeVine: “When members of the Cruel Black Dove, joined by Impossible Music Sessions creator Austin Dacey and Raam, lead singer of the celebrated Iranian rock band Hypernova — the first Iranian rock group to get a visa to perform in the US — sat down in a living room-like set in front of the stage to talk live with band members Maral and Natch, the whole room became part of an intimate conversation about The Plastic Wave’s origins, creative process, the impossibility of giving up making music despite the challenges of doing so in Iran, and hopes for the future. And it was clear that the artists and audience understood the significance of the evening.”
Music Freedom Day: Freedom of expression for musicians
Music Freedom Day in The Haag, Holland
Impossible Music Session 1
Concerts marking the Music Freedom Day actually started in Mumbai, India, at Blue Frog — a premier live music performance club for global music. Blue Frog featured a concert by French artist Barbara Carlotti. Read more…
A few hours later the concerts continued in Cairo, Amman and later again, in The Hague and New York.
In Amman, the capital of Jordan, Music Freedom Day was celebrated with a seminar and a concert at AlBalad Theatre. The seminar focussed on the situation for alternative music in Jordan and even discussed Censorship on Music in Jordan. In the evening a concert included performances of Yazan Rousan and Autostrad band, Aziz Maraqa and RAZ band and local rappers.
In Cairo, Egypt, the Sudanese singer Abazar Hamid performed at Rawabet Theatre. The evening concert was organised by Democratizing Music — a network of musician and activists. The event even celebrated the release of the Freemuse CD ‘Listen to the banned’, which includes a track of Abazar Hamid. Read more…
In Gdansk in Poland, the freedom of expression organisation Indeks 73 hosted a public debate on “music freedom and freedom in music” followed by a concert already on 2 March. Read more…
In Brussels, Belgium, a new organisation, Somali Arts and Culture Foundation (SAAC), was observing the Music Freedom Day. The organisation is dedicated to support Somali artists in general in Europe, Africa and the US.
Radio and tv programmes
Joining for the fourth consecutive year several national broadcasting stations in Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, among others, produced and present special programmes on music censorship and freedom of expression, introducing millions of radio listeners to these topics and issues.
Music Freedom Day was highlighted from the morning by NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, which focused on Music Freedom Day in the morning prime time news programme, and later in the evening in the world music programme Jungeltelegrafen which featured interviews with Lapiro de Mbanga speaking from his prison cell in Cameroon, and the exiled reggae singer Tiken Jah Fakoly from Côte d’Ivoire.
Swedish Televion’s Cultural News Programme featured videoclips of heavy metal bands from the Middle East, and an interview with Freemuse Executive Director Marie Korpe who also spoke to YLE, the national public radio in Finland.
In Germany several broadcasters focused on the Freemuse CD ‘Listen to the banned’ and Music Freedom Day. Radio Radio CORAX in collaboration with Freemuse and Radio Multicult 2.0 presented a three hours programme focusing on and discussing various types of music censorship
From Kabul the citizens of Afghanistan were made aware of the day by Tolo TV and Lemar TV which focused on music censorship and freedom of expression for musicians in all their music programmes on 3 March, including the popular ‘Afghan Star Show’.
Why Music Freedom Day?
If you browse through the news headlines on this website, you will find hundreds of stories about attacks on musicians’ right to freedom of expression. This is why, once a year, musicians and media get together to advocate freedom of expression for musicians worldwide.
Death threats to musicians in north-west Pakistan, imprisonment of musicians in Burma, Cameroon, and Syria, radio airplay restrictions on music in Somalia, endless court cases in Turkey… You could very well get the impression that musicians are an endangered species. Which is why Freemuse invites musicians and broadcasters all over the world to take part in the event.
As such, the Music Freedom Day gives an opportunity to take a thorough look at the subject – in many languages, cultures, countries and points of view. This website features several radio interviews and radio reports which are offered to radio stations in broadcast quality, free of charge.
Message board: Messages from participants in 2010
Music Freedom Day groups and pages on Facebook
Music Freedom Day international group
Music Freedom Day Jordan
Music Freedom Day New York 1: Impossible Music Session
Music Freedom Day New York 2: LeFrak Concert Hall
Music Freedom Day Poland
Music Freedom Day Egypt
Interviews from 2009
Interviews from 2008
Interviews from 2007
Media coverage 2010 – examples
Google News – continuously updated:
Search: ‘Music Freedom Day’
Radio Wave, Poland – 12 March 2010:
Radio Wave Jukebox: ‘Rebel Music’
The Huffington Post, USA – 11 March 2010:
‘The Evolution Will be ooVood’
Dagens Nyheter, Sweden – 3 March 2010:
Excepts from Freemuse Media Coverage 2010
IFEX – Music Freedom day takes place worldwide on 3 March -17/2Barents Press International – Music Freedom Day 2010 – 24/2Vovert, The Netherlands – Brainpower en Angelo op Music Freedom Day in het Paard van Troje, Den Haag – 25/2The Nation – Music Freedom Day – 25/2AIDA Nederland – Music Freedom Day – 25/2Musicians for Freedom, US – Music Freedom Day Celebrates around the world – 26/2Blue in the Bluegrass – blog – Celebrate Music Freedom Day March 3 – 27/2BGSU Blogs, USA – Music Freedom Day March 3rd – 27/2ICatfm, Hydrogen Catalunya Radio Spain – 2 hour programme on Music Freedom Day 2010 – 28/2Globalpost – About Music Freedom Day in Amman Jordan – 28/2Culture System – Music Freedom Day – 28/2Dagens Nyheter (Lars Boström)Songlines – Chimes of Freedom – Music Freedom Day – March issueDagens Nyheter, Swedish Newspaper – När tonerna dör ut – Article about Freemuse and Music Freedom Day – 2/3The Washington Post, guests – The Sound of Freedom – about Freemuse and Music Freedom Day – 2/3Ballade (Carl Kristian Johansen) – Norwegian Magazine – Music Freedom Day – 3/3On Stage, The Netherlands – Music Freedom Day met o.a. Brainpower- 3/3Concert Agenda, The Netherlands – Music Freedom Day – 3/3Rockonnet, Slovenia – Music Freedom Day 2010 – 3/3Nieuwsbank, The Netherlands – Muziekcensuur centraal op Music Freedom Day – 3/3Music From NL – Music Freedom Day – 3/3Songkick.com – Music Freedom Day at Paard Van Troje Kleine Zaal – 3/3Jyllands-posten, Danish newspaper (Heidi Joy Madsen) – Musikere censureres – Music Freedom Day – 3/3ICFJ News, International Center for Journalists – Broadcasters invited to join Music Freedom Day 2010 – 3/3NRK, P2 Jungletelegrafen, Norwegian National Radio – Music Freedom Day including interview with Lapiro de Mbanga and Tiken Jah Fakoly– 3/3NRK, Kulturnyt, Norwegian National Radio – Music Freedom Day interviews with Reitov, bj<
On 3 March 2011 musicians and broadcasters
world-wide will again focus on music censorshipYou can also join!Freemuse invites musicians and broadcasters to participate in this global event on the subject of music and censorship. The Music Freedom Day gives an opportunity to take a thorough look at the subjectMusicians and journalists are invited to consider directing their activities or programming on 3 March, or the days leading up to it, on the subject of banned music.A particular web page on freemuse.org will be continously updated and functions as a virtual ‘meeting point’ for the participating musicians and media people. It will include a list of all of the various partners who participate in the worldwide Music Freedom Day, as well as a list of the media coverage.Freemuse will also provide inspiration and ideas for themes or interviews in your programmes, or what to say to your audience at your concerts near the event on 3 March.And don’t forget that this website, freemuse.org, is an excellent resource on the subject for research purposes.On the occasion of the Music Freedom Day, Freemse extends its services to the media and uploads free high resolution video and audio clips for use in radio and tv programmes.
Let others know what YOU plan for 3 March 2011
<The previous years: 2007 – 2008 – 2009
On 3 March 2009, the main events took place in Stockholm, capital of Sweden. Artists from Turkey, Zimbabwe and Iran facing censorship joined forces with a Swedish award winning pianist in a unique concert when Re:Orient in collaboration with Freemuse organised a unique concert and a seminar at Stockholm’s Concert Hall Konserthuset in Stockholm, dedicated to freedom of expression for musicians and composers.
The concert was recorded by Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, SR, and offered to all members of the European Broadcasting Union.
The Nobel Museum in Stockholm also marked the Music Freedom Day with an event in connection with the exhibition ‘Yttrandefrihet — var g