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Press release: Romania report

25 October 2001

“A Little Bit Special” – Censorship and the Gypsy Musicians of Romania
by Garth Cartwright

A NEW REPORT PUBLISHED BY FREEMUSE

With the international success of Taraf de Haidouks, Romanian Gypsy music has its highest international profile ever. Yet the success of Taraf de Haidouks is not reflected back in Romania where their Gypsy status still lends them a degree of pariah status.

We often tend to believe that censorship is when a government stops music from being played on radio or when musicians are put on trial, for political or religious reasons, but – as this Freemuse report illustrates – censorship is a much more complex issue.

In Romania there is no straightforward government ban on Gypsy music. Instead, the attitude to Gypsies and their music throughout Romanian society is more one of neglect. It is an attitude with racial undertones towards a minority, which is encouraged by government bodies with strong support from the Romanian public.

The effect of these attitudes is one of exclusion – and excluding a form of musical expression is very similar to what we find in countries where musical censorship is practised.

Garth Cartwright, a New Zealander now based in London, is the author of The Tower Guide To World Music (March 2000) and a freelance journalist.
He was awarded the Guardian/Stop Press Journalism Award: Best Music Writer 1996.

Please visit www.freemuse.org for report abstract.

From 1st of November the report will be available in PDF-format at the Freemuse web site.

Freemuse (Freedom of musical expression) is an independent international membership organization advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide.

Freemuse has received funding from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as donations from artists such as Oasis and Pet Shop Boys.

Upcoming Freemuse activities include reports on Iran, South Africa, and the preparation of the 2nd World Conference on Music and Censorship in September 2002.

 

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