Music as a basic human right is in focus at WOMEX – The WOrld Music EXpo – in Sevilla, Spain, 22 – 26 October 2003
At WOMEX Freemuse will present the current case of the Cuban musician Gorki Carrasco, who on 15 August 2003 was formally convicted for drug trafficking and sentenced to four years imprisonment. However the circumstances leading to his arrest at a rock festival in Pinar Del Río in April this year were such that no evidence of drug trafficking was presented.Freemuse is now launching an international campaign for the release of Gorki Carrasco.
Music censorship comes in many forms (corporate, governmental, religious, etc.) At this year’s WOMEX, Freemuse will also focus on the issues of cultural boycott and on freedom of musical expression post-September 11 in two conference sessions. On the closing day – Sunday 26 Oct – Freemuse will host a concert with Amal Murkus and her band in connection with the WOMEX Award ceremony. (More info below).
You can meet Freemuse at WOMEX at our stand: E4
In the western part of our world freedom of musical expression is often taken for granted. But recent events (September 11, the war in Iraq) has caused that threats to freedom of musical expression is no longer a developing country phenomenon only, but very much present in the western world today. In the US the Dixie Chicks had their albums destroyed at public rallies, after their lead singer expressed concern about the war on Iraq.
And the self-censorship among musicians and composers, which have been documented in Freemuse reports on Zimbabwe and Nigeria, is slowly spreading. As Blur’s Damon Albarn said at a Freemuse press conference at the Roskilde Festival, Denmark in June this year:
“True censorship is something that we are not really aware of on a day-to-day basis; it’s something that’s inherent in the system. There’s an ever increasing element of that censorship, a sort of covert censorship going on everywhere. I think the fact that music is so closely related to economics now means that people do the censorship themselves.”
The importance of music and freedom of expression was poignantly articulated at the press conference by Nigerian legend Tony Allen:
“The only way you can attack this government and change things is through songs.”
WOMEX Award ceremony – Sunday 26 Oct, 14.00 – 16.00:
Amal – Palestinian singer born and living in Israel – and rejected by every major Israeli record company, has set new standards in expressions based on cross Mediterranean influences.Amal, singing in Arabic of suffering, sadness and hope, is constantly on the forefront in the fight against the exclusion and marginalisation of Arab music and culture by Israeli media.
Amal took part in the 2nd World Conference of Music and Censorship, September 2002, organized by Freemuse and are actively involved in the fight for freedom of musical expression – the very “raison d’etre” of Freemuse.
The WOMEX Award
|Interview and live recording with Amal Murkus (recorded at The 2nd World Conference on Music and Censorship);
Saturday 25 Oct, 12.00 – 13.00: Post September 11