Music Freedom Day 2011 is marked in more than 20 countries

2 March 2011

  Music Freedom Day celebrates freedom of musical expression worldwide
Songs smuggled out from Burma, DJ returns to Kabul, singer in court room in Cameroon. Choir sings about the Arab revolution and secret guests in New York. The plight of imprisoned musicians Win Maw from Burma and Lapiro de Mbanga from Cameroon perfectly illustrates why Music Freedom Day, 3 March, is so necessary and why it will be marked and promoted in so many countries this year.

Songs smuggled out from Burma
Win Maw was originally imprisoned from 1997-2003 for writing songs in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. He is currently being held once more under severe conditions for his role in the pro-democracy demonstrations of September 2007 that led to a major crackdown in Burma and the imprisonment of intellectuals, writers and monks.

Freemuse is making available three new songs by Win Maw, smuggled out from Burma, for Music Freedom activities. In ‘Go to Sleep’ he calls for continued struggle and criticizes those who “just talk”.

In court in Cameroon on Music Freedom Day
Lapiro de Mbanga will spend Music Freedom Day in court in Cameroon. His song ‘Constipated Constitution’ made him unpopular with the Cameroonian regime, as a result he has served almost three years in prison. Ever the fighter, Lapiro is taking the manager of a local banana company to court for alleged false charges that led to his current imprisonment, so, although currently a prisoner, on 3 March he will take the prosecution’s side in a court in his home city of Mbanga.

A representative of Freemuse will observe the trial in Cameroon. The very same day cultural activists and musicians in Cameroon will meet and discuss issues of music censorship in the country at the Centre Culturel François Villon de Yaoundé

DJ returns to Kabul, secret musicians online in New York
Six years after Afghan DJ, Shakeb Isaar had to flee Kabul after death threats he is returning to Afghanistan and presents a programme about banned music at Radio Arman.

In another corner of the world, New York, ‘Impossible Music Sessions’ is celebrating Music Freedom Day by inviting two secret guests to talk about music censorship in their home country. Their identities will only be revealed during the session as they are members of an underground group banned in their home country.

They will be joined on phone by Deeyah, co-producer of the Freemuse CD ‘Listen to the Banned’, who as an artist experienced death threats.

Complaints choir in Amman, music against genocide in Cairo
The recent political developments in the Middle East have influenced the planning of several Music Freedom Day activities. A concert in Cairo organised by the exiled Sudanese musician Abazar Hamid will put focus on the genocide in his home country. In Amman, Jordan, a ‘People’s Choir’ conducted by the founder of the Cairo Complaints Choir, Salam Yousry, will salute the ongoing Arabian revolutions. Music Freedom Day in Egypt and Lebanon will also commemorate the Egyptian musician Ahmed Basiouni, who died tragically during the initial days of the uprising in Cairo.

Zimbabwe musicians speak out and order
state broadcaster to stop playing their music

Close to 2,000 music composers in Zimbabwe have resolved to protest against non-payment of royalties, by ordering the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, ZBC, to stop playing their music for six hours during Music Freedom Day.

In the evening, Zimbabwean musicians will celebrate Music Freedom Day with a concert at the Book Café in Harare, led by a fantastic array of Zimbabwean artists who support the message of freedom of musical expression.

Concerts, film screenings and discussions in Europe
In Europe the annual day celebrating freedom of musical expression will be marked in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Norway by broadcasters and cultural organisers.

Events include concerts at ufaFabrik in Berlin with a focus on Cambodia, a film screening and discussion at Amsterdam’s Tropentheater focusing on Afghanistan, several concerts at Konstepidemin in Gothenburg, an exhibition in the city library of Aalborg in Denmark, a commemoration of the Turkish singer Ahmet Kaya in Copenhagen and a discussion on music censorship in China at University of Liverpool

Broadcast events in a dozen countries
Several European and North American broadcasters are making special programmes on Music Freedom Day with Hibrido Radio in Italy starting celebrations already on Wednesday 2 March.

NRK and SR, the national broadcasters of Norway and Sweden are featuring special reports from Cairo.

Canadian Broadcasting, CBC, is featuring reports from West Africa, in Birmingham goes live with 24 hours continuous broadcast focusing on music censorship and radio stations in USA, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland and Spain are presenting special programmes about Music Freedom Day.

From Mumbai to North America
Music Freedom Day starts with a concert at Mumbai’s Blue Frog Club, continues in Kabul, the Middle East, Europe and ends with a session in New York and special broadcasting programmes in Canada.

Read the full list of activities on

Media contact — by email or phone

E-mail: marie.korpe ( a ) – tel: +45 29 44 42 80 (cell)

E-mail: ole.reitov ( a ) – tel: +45 23 23 27 65 (cell) / +45 3332 1027 (office)



Click to go to
Poster for Music Freedom Day in New York in 2011

Click to go to
Poster for Music Freedom Day in Birmingham in 2011

Download logo for Music Freedom Day for your own home page
Download the Music Freedom Day logo

Click to see the list of mp3 music files
Music for broadcasters in mp3-format


Music for broadcasters

MFD Signature song no 1
Song against music censorship in Algeria
Recorded for Freemuse and the Music Freedom Day, the rap song ‘152 mesures contre la censure’ features 10 rappers who are concerned with censorship issues in Algeria.
Read more…

MFD Signature song no 2
Song against music censorship in Iran

Recorded for Freemuse and the Music Freedom Day, the emotional song ‘Navai’ features the Iranian singer Marjan Vahdat in a musical collaboration with the British guitarist Jason Carter. Read more…

Radio broadcasters can download the songs above in broadcast quality here:

Banned Burmese music
The singer and human rights activist Win Maw has been imprisoned in Burma since 2008. Nevertheless, he continues his struggle for freedom of expression from the prison. In February 2011, Freemuse received three new songs from him. Listen to or download the songs…


Click to read more

Click to read more

Right-click to download zip-file

Click to read more and listen to the songs
Win Maw

Current audio interviews for broadcasters

Generation Wave (Myanmar / Burma)
Audio interview with Generation Wave — a group of Burmese hip-hop artists and activists — about freedom of expression and censorship among musicians in their country. Read more…


Click to listen to the Generation Wave interview

Listen to more artists suffering under censorship


Artist interviews – with exiled and banned musicians 




“If we told you who was scheduled to appear, they might not make it…”



Freemuse invites musicians, music clubs, cultural institutions, broadcasters and media to join the annual Music Freedom Day on 3 March.

Musicians and composers rights to freedom of expression are violated worldwide. Hundreds of musicians are imprisoned censored and persecuted because of their music or lyrics.

Music Freedom Day provides an opportunity to take a thorough look at the subject – in your own language, with your own perspective and in a manner that suits you. You can organise a concert or a seminar, produce a radio feature, show a film, write an article or just dedicate a song to Music Freedom Day.

In 2010 local organisers from Mumbai to New York presented innovative concerts. Radio broadcasters in several European countries produced special features on music censorship and in Poland, Jordan and Holland music censorship was discussed at seminars.

Role of Freemuse
Freemuse does not fund Music Freedom Day events but we are happy to advise and inspire you.
If you wish to join Music Freedom Day 2011, drop us a note

Music Freedom Day: creating history
Music Freedom Day started in 2007. On this website you can find inspiration from earlier events. According to an enthusiastic witness one of the concerts in 2010 “will go down in the annals of rock history”, and in Amman music censorship for the first time ever was discussed in public in Jordan.

The full list of activities so far can be seen on the special website for Music Freedom Day,

Get inspired by others




Download logo for Music Freedom Day for your own home page
Download the Music Freedom Day logo


You can still join Music Freedom Day

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The previous years
|  2007  |  2008  |  2009  |  2010  |



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