Press release: Music Freedom Day 2009

18 March 2009
Music Freedom Day 2009  

Concert & seminar with censored artists in Stockholm 3 March

Artists from Turkey, Zimbabwe and Iran facing censorship join forces with Swedish Award Winner in a unique concert when Re:Orient in collaboration with Freemuse organise a concert and a seminar dedicated to freedom of expression for musicians and composers.


In their home countries artists Ferhat Tunç, Mahsa Vahdat and Chiwoniso Maraire can only perform under restrictions and often severe duress, but on Music Freedom Day, 3 March  the three artists can perform without harassments or restrictions from censorship committees.

In a unique concert at Stockholm’s Concert Hall/Konserthuset they will be joined by Swedish composer Matti Bye performing his `Piece for Piano and Handcuffs´.

Bye was recently honoured with Sweden’s National Film Award (The Guldbagge Award) for his congenial score music to Jan Troell’s film ‘Everlasting Moments/Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick.

The concert will be recorded by Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, SR, and offered to all members of the European Broadcasting Union.

Music Freedom Day will also feature the censored artists at a public seminar and the presentation of the Freemuse Award. The seminar takes place at the Concert Hall from 1-3 pm.

The events are supported by The Swedish Institute and the City of Stockholm.


‘Rebel Woman’, the latest CD of Chiwoniso Maraire from Zimbabwe, is presently ranking in the top of the World Music Chart Europe. After serious threats she left Zimbabwe last year and lives now in exile in the USA.

Turkish-Kurdish Ferhat Tunç, a very popular artist not only in Turkey but with many Kurdish communities in Europe, has been arrested and imprisoned several times in his home country because of his criticism of government policies regarding Kurdish and other minorities.

Mahsa Vahdat from Iran is well known for her unique voice, featured at amongst others on the CD `Lullabies from the Axis of Evil´. Vahdat cannot perform solo concerts in Iran due to political/religious restrictions in the country.


Music Freedom Day celebrates and advocates freedom of expression for musicians and composers. This implies freedom to play, record and perform music.

Unfortunately many countries violate artists’ right to freedom of expression. In countries such as Iraq and Somalia, a number of musicians were killed last year. In Pakistan, hundreds of music stores have been attacked and bombed. In Afghanistan, musicians are receiving death threats, musicians in Burma and Cameroon are jailed, while in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s regime has forced several musicians into exile.

Music Freedom Day is a response to this.


The concert in Stockholm will include the presentation of The Freemuse Award.

Last year exiled Ivorian artist, Tiken Jah Fakoly, was the first winner of the Freemuse Award.

The Award is given to an individual or an organisation that `has worked for freedom of musical expression in a remarkable way´.

The winner the 2009 Freemuse Award will be announced next week.


The Nobel Museum in Stockholm will mark Music Freedom Day with an event at 6 pm.

The Museum has recently opened the doors to the exhibition ‘Yttrandefrihet – var g



Ole Reitov + 45 23 23 27 65 / +45 33 32 10 27


Cecilia Hörnell  +46 (0) 70 51 708 28

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