Music Freedom Day 2015 reports and media coverage

4 March 2015


#MusicFreedomDay 2015

Music Freedom Day was celebrated on March 3. In 2015 events were held around the world including #Barcelona #Bologna #Casablanca #Dakar #Harare #Harstad #Peshawar #NewYork #Oslo.

Here are some highlights:


CBC posted three articles from 2014 on and talked about it on their national shows on 3 March:

» The Music Freedom playlist: songs of exile, protest and hope

» When the caged bird sings: making music in our darkest moments

» Bluegrass virtuoso Mike Stevens taps the power of music in Canada’s north


» Beijing Bulletin – 4 March 2015:
Pakistani Musicians Seek Government Promotion, Protection


» Musikeren – 3 March 2015:
Ytringsfrihed i musikken fejres i dag (‘Freedom of expression in music celebrated today’)
Freemuse focuses on musical freedom of expression today with international Musical Freedom Day. By Birgitte Theresia Henriksen (in Danish language)



Associazione Culturale Consonanze – Alfabetamusica – shared the photo above with the following message:

Only one motto for different generations:
“Music will not be silenced”

Myanmar / Burma

Mun Awng’s Burmese concert was held on 3 March, Music Freedom Day. The day was an initiative of Freemuse, an organisation that advocates freedom of expression for musicians, in 2007, and is a celebration of the freedom to create and to play music without intimidation or persecution.

Mun Awng became known in the 1980s for his protest songs calling for democracy, peace and an end to military rule in Burma. After taking part in the 1988 democratic uprising that was crushed by the military, he fled the country, having grown increasingly frustrated with the censorship board’s control over song lyrics. He was granted asylum in Norway, where he continued to write songs calling for democracy in Burma.

» Kolkata News – 3 March 2015:
Why these censors can’t stop the music 
On 3 March 2015, Mun Awng, a well-known Burmese exiled singer, will hold his first concert in Burma in more than 25 years. Trefford: The day was an initiative of Freemuse, an organisation that advocates freedom of expression


» Utrop – 6 March 2015:
Sanger om ikke å glemme (‘Songs about not to forget’)
Report from the event at Kirkelig Kulturverksted, in Norwegian language

» Harstad Tidende – 4 March 2015:
Slik var Music Freedom Day i Harstad
Contains video clip from the concert at the Harstad Music Freedom Day event

» Stortinget – 3 March 2015:
Stortingspresidenten åpnet konferanse om forfulgte musikere

» NRK – 3 March 2015:
Eg brukte musikken for å overleve (‘Eg uses the music to survive’)

» NRK – 3 March 2015:
Musikere blir også forfulgt (‘Musicians are persecuted as well’)

» Harstad Tidende – 3 March 2015:
Harstad fikk friby-pris (‘Harstad gets Safe City award’)

» Harstad Tidende – 3 March 2015:
Stortingspresidenten: Harstad er en musikkby (‘Harstad is a music town’)

» Musikkultur – 2 March 2015:
Fribymusikere spiller for ytringsfrihet (‘Safe city musicians perform for freedom of expression’)

» Harstad Tidende – 1 March 2015:
Internasjonalt møte
(‘International meeting’)

» Harstad Tidende – 1 March 2015:
Spiller for fred i Midt-Østen (‘Performs for peace in the Middle East’)
Abazar Hamid is one of four safe city musicians who will be performing duing Music Freedom Day in Harstad on 3 March. Article by Åse Hjelvik (in Norwegian language)

» Distriktsprogram – Troms og Finnmark:
Morra i NRK P1

» Harstad Tidende – 26 Februar 2015:
Stortingspresidenten åpner Music Freedom Day (‘Parliament president will open Music Freedom Day’)

» Harstad Kommune – 25 February 2015:
Music Freedom Day Harstad 2015



“Pakistan musicians celebrated Music Freedom Day on Tuesday in Peshawar, with a plea to “Don’t Kill the Song.”
Singers at the event, organised by the Takhleeq Development Foundation, told VOA Deewa that religious intolerance in the region has contributed to what they argue is the government’s failure to protect Pakistani musicians and other artists from religious persecution and to promote their cultural contributions.”

» Voice of America – 3 March 2015:
Pakistani Musicians Seek Government Promotion, Protection


Event at Peshawar Press Club
Takhleeq Development Foundation (TDF) and Culture Journalists Forum (CJF) jointly organised a Music Freedom Day event at Peshawar Press Club which was attended by a good number of singers, musicians, poets, civil society, journalists, relevant government officials, music activists, artists and stake holders.

The occasion was graced by Mr Amjid Afridi, Minister for Sports, Culture & Tourism, Govt of KP, as chief guest. The event started with speeches and demands, covering topics such as freedom of artistic expression, music and conflict focusing on KP & FATA cases, announcing of culture policy, free Nishtar Hall – a culture complex which according to campaigners should be reserved for art and culture activities – renovation of Nishtar Hall, artists protection, restructuring of culture directorate, financial assistance to needy artists and musicians, and prioritising the cultural sector in KP & FATA.

Minister Afridi assured his full cooperation and agreed to all genuine demands. The event was signed off with music performances by re-noted singers. For electronic and print media coverage, kindly see video clips and links at


“The Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Foundation (PCF) organised an event at Archives Library Hall on Tuesday to commemorate World Music Freedom Day, observed every year on 3 March.
A large number of musicians performed at the event and a documentary on how militancy and the government’s apathy have affected the music industry in the province was also screened. Moreover, musicians discussed the challenges faced by them in the province.”

» The Express Tribune – 4 March 2015:
The day the music died: Government flayed for turning blind eye to music industry


» The Frontier Post – 3 March 2015:
Music Freedom Day on Tuesday

» Dawn – 3 March 2015:
Veteran Pashto singer consigned to oblivion
By Sher Alam Shinwari




“Created to celebrate Music Freedom Day, this short film is a companion to the feature length documentary They Will Have to Kill us First. Can the musicians of Mali rescue their music in exile? Featuring music from Songhoy Blues, Khaira Arby, Vieux Farka Touré and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)”

» The Guardian – 3 March 2015:
‘There’s no life without music’: the Malian musicians fighting Islamists with songs – video
The film ‘They Will Have to Kill us First’ is promoted on the Guardian homepage to celebrate Music Freedom Day.


“Freemuse and other organisations document cases of imprisonment, attacks, and censorship as various governments and non-state actors attempt to silence the music. And yet, despite these obstacles, songs of a political nature make it to the airwaves and musicians defy bans. Today we celebrate those who find a way to share their music with the rest of us.”

» IFEX – 3 March 2015:
Why these censors can’t stop the music

The Netherlands

» VPRO – 3 March 2015:
Music Freedom Day – Vier de vrijheid van muziek


United Kingdom

In Edinburgh, Radical Voices Edinburgh has monthly evenings of song and poetry with a different theme each month. The sessions are free and they ask for contributions from those who attend to give to an appropriate group or cause. On 22 March 2015, the theme was Music Freedom Day, and GBP 60 was collected for Freemuse, which has since then been donated to the organisation.


» Adventures of a Riot Grrrl – 3 March 2015:
Fight Censorship With Music Freedom Day



“The evening at Spectrum started out with music from censored artists, accompanied with information about the artists and their personal history facing censorship.”

» National Coalition Against Censorship – 5 March 2015:
Music Freedom Day in New York
By Sunna Reitov Korpe

» Star Tribune – 6 March 2015:
The information counterrevolution
Two recent reports document a worldwide decline in freedom of information. Article by John Rash

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