18 March 2013

Freemuse campaign: Singer Arya Aramnejad released from prison
Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad, who was given 91 days prison sentence, is out prison. He was allegedly released due to international reactions.
29 January 2013
Iran: International artists support imprisoned Iranian musician
In a letter to the Iranian authorities, world renowned artists join Freemuse in a protest against the imprisonment of their Iranian colleague Arya Aramnejad
16 January 2013
Iran: Singer Arya Aramnejad once again in prison
Singer Arya Aramnejad is serving a 91 days prison sentence. Freemuse has once again protested to the Iranian authorities against the imprisonment of the Iranian singer
10 January 2013
Iran: Exiled Iranian musician responds upright to death threats
This interview with Shahin Najafi and Günter Wallraff took place five months after a death sentence was issued against the singer Shahin Najafi
24 October 2012
Iran: Banned Israeli Persian-language album gains popularity
The music of Rita Jahan-Foruz – an Iranian-born, Israel-based singer – is becoming increasingly popular in both Iran and Israel, as tensions grow between the two countries
21 August 2012
Iran: Cancellation of several pop concerts
A new wave of concert cancellations started from Tehran and has spread throughout the country, reported Small Media from London
05 July 2012
Iran: Death sentence against Iranian rapper in Germany
A cleric issued a death sentence against Iranian rapper and rock guitarist Shahin Najafi for having produced a song which is believed to be offensive to Imam Naqi
10 May 2012
Iran: Singer Arya Aramnejad prosecuted for his songs
28-year-old Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad, who was recently released after his second term in prison, has been informed he has been given a one-year prison sentence
23 April 2012
Iran: Arya – the Victor Jara of my homeland
Iranian journalist and poet Sepideh Jodeyri compares the life and music of imprisoned musician Arya Aramnejad with Chile’s revolutionary singer Victor Jara
12 January 2012
Iran: Singer Arya Aramnejad arrested again
On 8 November 2011 singer Arya Aramnejad was arrested, beaten and taken to solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention centere in Sari
23 November 2011
Iran: Musicians are losing hope
Members of the Iranian electronic rock band The Casualty Process spoke in the US about being censored and suppressed by Iranian religious authorities
01 November 2011
Iran: New music censorship law
Mohammad Mirzamani, the General Director of the Music Office in the Ministry of Culture in Tehran, told that a new music censorship law is being prepared by the ministry
02 September 2011
Iran: How they rocked in Tehran before the revolution
On the occassion of two new albums with music of Kourosh and Googoosh, Jessica Hundley wrote an article for Los Angeles Times about music in Iran before the revolution
22 August 2011
Iran: Government bans famous Ramadan singer
The 70-year-old singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian’s beloved Ramadan song ‘Rabbana’ is banned by the Iranian authorities, reported BBC’s Karen Zarindast from Iran
08 August 2011
Iran: Report about cultural censorship in Iran
This report, published by Small Media in July 2011, addresses some of the major concerns in the fields of literature, cinema, theatre and music in Iran
05 July 2011
USA/Cuba: Impossible Music Session 4 – Not appearing: Escuadrón Patriota
The ‘Impossible Music Session’ no 4 takes place on Friday 10 June 2011 at 8:00 PM in Pfizer Auditorium in Brooklyn, New York, USA
18 May 2011
Armenia / Iran: Banned live music thrives in neighbouring country
During the Persian New Year, posters advertising concerts by banned Iranian musicians can be seen all over Yerevan, capital of the ex-Soviet republic Armenia
30 March 2011
Iran: The nations’ top singer opted for a life in exile
A sharp voice of political dissent, Marzieh was a celebrated interpreter of traditional Persian music whose career in her native Iran was silenced by the clerical dictatorship
29 November 2010
Iran: Iranian authorities inspired by the Nazis?
‘Degenerate music’ was a term used by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s to describe certain forms of music. The same term is increasingly adapted by Iranian authorities
11 November 2010
Iran: Petition in support of 26 year-old Iranian musician
On 1 October 2010, an online petition in support of Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad was started. He was imprisoned for singing his famous song ‘Ali Barkhir’ (‘O Ali raise up’)
13 October 2010
Mahsa Vahdat
Two video interviews with Iranian singer Mahsat Vahdat. About women, religion, and music censorship in modern Iran
02 September 2010
Iran: Supreme leader discourages music
Music is ‘not compatible’ with the values of the Islamic Republic, announced Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on 2 August 2010
04 August 2010
Iran: No teaching of music in private schools
Teaching music in state schools is already prohibited in Iran. Now, the music ban also applies to Iran’s 16,000 private schools with 1.1 million students
07 June 2010
Iran: Authorities warn about punishments for playing banned music in taxis
If taxi drivers play banned music in their taxis, it could lead to cancellation of their taxi permit and confiscation of their cars, warned a government official
31 May 2010
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 as saying
10 May 2010
Iran: Music from ‘below the radar’ distributed on free CD
A compilation of underground Iranian music, compiled by the music centre Bar-Ax, was published as a free bonus-CD with April-May 2010 issue of the music magazine Songlines
05 May 2010
Freemuse Award 2010: Winners honoured in London
The joint winners of the Freemuse Award 2010, Mahsa Vahdat and Ferhat Tunç, gave a short and impressive performance at the award ceremony in London
29 March 2010
Freemuse Award winners 2010: Mahsa Vahdat and Ferhat Tunç
Award ceremony held in London on 25 March 2010 in collaboration with Index on Censorship
22 March 2010
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
24 February 2010
Iran: More than 20 musicians banned from radio
Government-owned radio stations in Iran have been ordered to stop broadcasting certain singers’ music and certain songs, reported Ilna and Iran Human Rights Voice.
30 November 2009
Iran: 12 ‘satanist’ musicians reportedly arrested in Orumiyeh
An Iranian newspaper reported that 12 musicians accused of promoting satanism have been arrested in northwest Iran
02 November 2009
Iran / UK: ‘The exile factor’ in The X Factor tv show
Iranian singer Behrouz Ghaemi fled Iran to pursue his singing dream in the UK. On 29 August 2009 he became famous overnight in a tv-show watched by 11.8 million viewers
07 September 2009
Iran: Five-year prison sentence for performance of Koranic verses
The Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo has been sentenced – in absentia – to five years in prison for disrespecting religious sanctities
17 July 2009
Iran: Music gives hope
Austin Dacey’s article about the underground music scene and the system of music censorship in Iran, based on an interview with the rock band Kiosk
17 July 2009
Iran: Musicians respond to the crisis
Despite a general ban, rock music has become one of the most vibrant forces for critiquing the various ills of Iranian society, writes music researcher Mark LeVine
23 June 2009
Iran: Rock concert raided, 104 arrested
A concert in Shiraz was raided by an Islamist militia, and 104 people arrested, on the grounds of being ‘immoral’, reported Jam-e Jam newspaper on 27 May 2009
08 June 2009
Iran: Film about Iranian music censorship awarded, musicians exiled
The Iranian film ‘No One Knows About Persian Cats’ was awarded at Cannes Film Festival. But two of the musicians which it features now must go in exile
27 May 2009
Iran: Rock band tells its story of censorship and imprisonment
The Iranian rock band Font, winner of Britain’s first-ever Immigrant Song Contest, were imprisoned in August 2007 merely for performing their style of music.
18 May 2009
Iran: Film about music censorship shown on Cannes Film Festival
Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi launches a two-hour film about music censorship in Iran which features banned musicians and singers
15 May 2009
Iran: 13 musicians arrested in Isfahan
Brigadier general Mer-Abbas Sofivand told a daily newspaper that 13 musicians have been arrested, and 90 CDs seized by police in Isfahan
02 March 2009
Human Rights for Musicians – Impressions & Descriptions: Mahsa Vahdat
Testimonial by Mahsa Vahdat in the anniversary publication ‘Human Rights for Musicians – Ten Years With Freemuse’
30 January 2009
Iran: Rap singer believed to be arrested
The alleged arrest of rapper and singer Tataloo is debated in online Persian rap forums. Rumours says that Tataloo has received a three-year jail sentence
21 November 2008
Iran: Trial against two Kurdish singers
Two Kurdish singers are to be sentenced for “propaganda against the [political] order”, reported Shâr News from Saqqez in western Iran on 17 November 2008
21 November 2008
Iran: Organiser of music concerts executed
On 4 August 2008, 28-year-old Yaghub Mehrnahad, a education activist and concert organiser, was executed, reported several human rights groups
21 August 2008
Iran: Setar master openly critised ban on women vocalists
Musician Mohammad-Reza Lotfi said at a press conference that he wishes to eliminate Iran’s prohibition on solo vocal performances by women
28 April 2008
Iran: Organiser of music concerts sentenced to death
The death sentence on civil rights activist Yaghub Mehrnahad highlights how many Iranians must live with the risk of execution for expressing their views
19 February 2008
Iran: Official campaign against rap music
Iranian police have been instructed to close rap studios in an official nationwide campaign to stamp out “obscene” rap music, reported Agence France Presse and BBC News
04 December 2007
Iran: Musician bypasses censorship on the internet
To Iranian artist IO the publishing of his new album is a victory over censorship. He could not have it published in Iran, but now it is available world-wide via the internet
27 September 2007
Iran: ‘Rap-e-Fars’ – Persian rap and the Iranian rap scene
Although the Persian rap, ‘Rap-e-Fars’, is illegal in Iran it is very popular among Iranian teenagers. An article about the underground Iranian rap scene
17 September 2007
Iran: Daniel Pearl: Status of music in Iran 2000
Link to an article in which Daniel Pearl describes the status of music in Iran in 2000. He interviews the Iranian pop singer Alireza Assar and composer Fouad Hejazi
04 September 2007
Iran: About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanistic’ music event
As part of an annual summer crackdown on “immoral behavior” about 230 people were arrested during a police raid on an underground rap and rock concert
07 August 2007
Iran: Gradual changes through modern technology
The daily pan-Arabic newspaper Ashark al Awsat reports that changes are introduced gradually among the citizens of Iran – despite official bans and censorship.
04 July 2007
Freemuse: Religious fanatics a threat to music
Freemuse presentation at the IASPM conference for popular music researchers from the whole world – in 2007 held in Mexico City
27 June 2007
IASPM Conference 2007: Speech by Ole Reitov
Freemuse presentation at the IASPM conference for popular music researchers from the whole world – in 2007 held in Mexico City
27 June 2007
Middle East: Dossier on music, bans and censorship
The internet portal has produced a dossier entitled ‘Middle Eastern Musical Worlds’. It includes issues of music bans and censorship in the Islamic world
16 May 2007
Iran: Prohibition of music in holy city
In a speech in official Friday praying on 11 May 2007 the Imam of Mashhad banned practicing of music and ordered to close all of the music institutes in the holy city
15 May 2007
Iran: ‘Half Moon’ – film about women’s right to sing
‘Half Moon’ is a prize-winning feature film which talks of women’s right to perform in public, and to participate in the artistic development of a land
25 April 2007
Iran: Six musicians arrested
Authorities in Iran have reportedly detained at least six members of underground music bands and shut down their studios, Radio Farda reported
24 April 2007
Signature song for Music Freedom Day 2007
Recorded for Freemuse and the Music Freedom Day, the song ‘Navai’ features the Iranian singer Marjan Vahdat in a musical collaboration with the British guitarist Jason Carter
06 February 2007
3rd Freemuse World Conference on Music and Censorship
200 professional musicians, scholars, and composers from 22 countries met at the 3rd Freemuse World Conference on 25-26 November 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey
18 December 2006
Iran: No more music download
A ban on high-speed internet will make it more difficult to download foreign music which the authorities blame for undermining Islamic culture among the younger generation
19 October 2006
Iran: ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’
Excerpt from Chapter 8 in the report ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’ published by Article 19 in September 2006. Chapter 8 is about music in Iran:
05 October 2006
Iran: Report about art and censorship in Iran
“Artists self-censor in fear of risking harassment, arrest, flogging, or worse still, imprisonment,” stated a report about art and censorship in Iran published by Article 19
05 October 2006
Iran: World premiere of film about music censorship in Iran
Documentary film on governmental censorship of music in Iran had its world premiere in New York in 2006: ‘Sounds of Silence – Underground Music in Tehran’
04 May 2006
Iran: Gissoo Shakeri – “Voice of women who cannot sing”
Singer Gissoo Shakeri’s works are banned in Iran, but her songs can be listened to on the internet. Interview excerpt from Revolution, and lyrics from one of her banned songs
06 April 2006
Iran: Forbidden rap album becomes a hit
A new album made by the group Dalu mocks the Islamic Republic’s top clerics. It has taken the country by storm, reports Iran Focus
03 March 2006
Iran: New ban on Western music in Iran
New decree bans music that does not conform to Islamic doctrines and the spirit of the Islamic Revolution
21 December 2005
Iran: More than thirty concerts cancelled
Iran is experiencing a cultural clampdown. In three months, from September to November 2005, Iran’s Ministry of Culture has cancelled more than thirty concerts in the country.
29 November 2005
Iran: Rock artists struggle to breach cultural and bureaucratic barriers
The Iranian culture ministry does not recognise rock music in its permitted music categories, and frequently rejects such work as culturally inappropriate, reports The Guardian
29 August 2005
Iran: Ministry rejects instrumental CD
Ministry of culture says Western rock is the product of drug addicts
29 August 2005
TehranAvenue – Link
Alternative online magazine about cultural life in the city of Tehran. Tries to focus on issues that established medias seldom cover
01 August 2005
Iran: Reviewer of music book sentenced to jail
A cultural critic at the newspaper Iran has been sentenced to jail for writing that the prophet Muhammed liked music played by women
03 June 2005
Women and Music Censorship – Past to Present
Examples from all over the world of the censorship of female music during the centuries
25 April 2005
Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter
Googoosh was Iran’s most famous and beloved pop diva, until she was silenced following the 1979 Islamic revolution. The award winning documentary on Googoosh is now out on DVD
14 December 2004
Iran: Concerts cancelled
Bureaucratic obstacles have turned into a kind of musical oppression in Iran, reports Shadi Vatanparast from the Iranian web-magazine
21 October 2004
Iranian hardliners cancel embassy music concerts
A series of concerts organized by foreign embassies in Iran have been cancelled, apparently due to increased curbs on cultural events by the Islamic republic’s hardliners
05 October 2004
Iranian rapper talks a fine line
Chart-topping Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh targets unemployment, poverty and westernised Iranian girls in his new album, which the culture ministry took four years to approve. The ministry passed it only after he deleted six songs from his original ten
04 September 2004
Iran: Lashes for loud music
The judiciary in Hamedan has ordered that anyone caught playing thumping tunes in their cars should be subject to jail terms or lashes, according to news agency IRNA. “Playing any type of music loud in the vehicles is regarded as a crime and violators will be dealt by legal measures”
09 August 2004
Shoot the Singer! Book
‘Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today’ is the first worldwide presentation of contemporary cases of music censorship
25 May 2004
Fresh Iranian bands ready to rock
A music competition aims at introducing new talent in the Islamic Republic. But when you live and work in Iran, there are certain limitations on forms of self-expression
09 February 2004
Iran: Women & music censorship
Background material on women in the performing arts in post-revolutionary Iran
20 January 2004
Iran: Mahsa Vahdat – Singing in the absence of others
Mahsa Vahdat speaks with Naghmeh Taqizadeh from TehranAvenue about the challenges of being a female musician and singer in Iran
18 December 2002
Popular Iranian singer Googoosh kept out of the US
The U.S.-led war on terrorism has had unintended consequences on Iran’s most popular artists, who are finding it almost impossible to practice their craft in the United States
10 February 2002
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