Singer Lapiro de Mbanga finally received his ‘Freedom To Create Award’ on Music Freedom Day 2011. The Cameroonian singer who has been in prison for almost three years under harsh conditions was able to spend one day outside the prison as he went to court in his home town Mbanga.
Freemuse Programme Officer Martin Buch Larsen observed the trial and was later able to present the much awaited prize which was awarded to Lapiro already in November 2009 after a Freemuse nomination. The presentation was one of the highlights of a day where Music Freedom Day activities took place in more than twenty countries.
Crowded house in Amman
“This year it is striking how local ownership to the event has developed a diversity of innovative events,” said Marie Korpe, Executive Director of Freemuse
In Amman in Jordan, a crowded Al Balad Theater watched the crying out of the Arab Revolution through the ‘Amman People’s Choir’ – a choir established within a few days prior to the event under the direction of Salam Yousri, founder of the Cairo Complaints Choir. The success was so huge that an additional concert was organised a few days later.
In Kabul (former) exiled DJ Shakeb Isaar presented (former) banned music. Shakeb Isaar, who had to flee his country after threats from fundamentalists, is now the host of “Afghan Star” – Afghanistan’s most popular tv programme. A documentary about the show was presented at Amsterdam’s Tropentheater.
Radio and flyers
One of the Music Freedom Day media partners, hibridoradio.com, based in Italy, provided special programmes in Italian as well as Spanish with specific focus on the situation in Latin America. Hibrido produced several flyers with pictures of censored artists such as Cuban punk rocker, Gorki and Venezuelan reggae artist, Onechot.
Some national broadcasters focused on the recent developments of freedom of musical expression in the Middle East, others played music smuggled out from Burma from imprisoned musician and activist Win Maw.
Swedish and Norwegian national broadcasters reported from Cairo and Swedish Radio even focused on market censorship with examples of Apple iTunes censorship.
Support from society of composers
Musicians’ and composers’ organisations for the past years have focused almost all their lobbying activities on royalty and copyright issues, but on Music Freedom Day this year, SKAP – The Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers – dedicated it’s front page to MFD and a commentary on freedom on musical expression by the chairperson of the society.
Massive media coverage
Music Freedom Day 2011 received massive international and national media coverage. Several videos have already been uploaded on the internet and several radio programs and articles are available for downloading.