‘Shoot the Singer!’ launch in Italian language

7 May 2007

Nobel prize winner introduces Freemuse book

When ‘Shoot the Singer’ is published in Italian language on 12 May 2007, the book has a new introduction written by Nobel price laureate Dario Fo.

Entitled ‘Sparate Sul Pianista! La Censura Musicale Oggi’, the Italian version is launched at the Torino International Book Fair on Saturday 12 May at 17 pm.

Dario Fo satirist, playwright, theater director, actor, and composer received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997. ‘Shoot the Singer’ was originally published in English in 2004. It included a poem written by Yoko Ono and comments by Damon Alburn of Gorillaz and Blur.


The new Italian edition 

How could you put a song behind bars?

Excerpt of introduction by Dario Fo

In order to sing, you don’t need anything. You don’t need to be highly educated, nor to hold a university degree. You don’t even need to have a good voice… It is for this reason, perhaps, that many songs – those that were born under-the-counter, on the streets, in the fields, in factories and other unfortunate places – have always frightened power and its lackeys. Light songs and bad songs that were born poor and illegitimate, sharing the same blood – red, vivid and vital. Tough and impossible to eradicate like weed, they keep sprouting everywhere, in deserts as in cities, in the East as in the West. And anywhere you’ll find somebody with a pair of scissors in his hand who is determined to make those sounds disappear. But the silencing of one voice cannot sever the roots of those songs. A thousand years ago as today, storytellers and minstrels, rockers and rappers are still there, singing another history, the one that people want to hear and power wants to silence.

But music has the ability to fly: one cannot catch nor grab it. How could you possibly put a song behind bars? How can people kill a rhythm, a ballad, a refrain? Among all the possible aspects of censorship, music censorship is the most absurd and odious. That is why I think this a praiseworthy book, which provides us with an accurate document about the repression of musics that is still taking place today, in the Third Millenium BC, across the Third, the Second and the First World. (…)

I have subsequently written a number of “upsetting” songs that have disappeared for years from Italian radio and tv, like “Ho visto un re”, “Il primo furto non si scorda mai” and “Prete Liprando e il Giudizio di Dio”. And let’s not forget about the 1962 edition of the popular saturday evening TV program, Canzonissima. Its opening track “Su cantiam” [“Let us sing”], which I had written together with composer Fiorenzo Carpi, mocked the mediatic idiocy of our Beatiful Country. While the refrain went “Let us sing, let us sing, let’s not think, let’s not argue, let’s start singing…”, people could see images of miners, migrants and workers on strike. Rai [the Italian public tv company] didn’t like it, and all this contributed to put a ban on us.

As a zen proverb goes, “When the wise man points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger.” So does censorship, which hopes to eliminate the cause by targeting its effect.

Excerpt of introduction to ‘Sparate sul pianista! Music censorship today’ – EDT, Torino 2007
Translation by Vincenzo Perna. Copyright EDT 2007. All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the prior written permission from the publisher. This excerpt is republished with permission from the publisher.


  Click to read more about Dario Fo
Dario Fo 

Censors from across the world.!

Vincenzo Perna’s introduction to the book

‘Sparate sul pianista!’ presents an ample, panoramic view on music censorship, showing the variety – even the creativity, one might say – of the systems deployed across the globe in order to control and silence musicians. The book suggests that in a great part of our planet the repression of music is more the rule than the exception.

Why does music attract so much interest from power? The reading of this book suggests a wide number of possible explanations. First and foremost, obviously, stand “problematic” political opinions expressed by musicians and their songs’ lyrics. Behind the banning of musicians and music, however, one could find several other reasons, which go far beyond matters of explicit political content. Music is censored because it witnesses the existence of ethnic minorities that should not be seen and heard; because it opens a public space to women in places where somebody would like them to be excluded from the public sphere; because it makes people meet and develop a sense of collective identity.
Furthermore, because it conveys sexual pulsions and instances of freedom which are perhaps vague, but powerful and difficult to discipline. Because music is in itself difficult to control and is perceived as a menace by power. Last but no least, because, by censoring music, politicians are able to exploit their victims’ popularity, coming forward as watchdogs of public morality. As Czech writer Josef Skvoreck

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Sul curatore
Marie Korpe è direttrice esecutiva di Freemuse (Freedom of Musical Expression). Giornalista, ha lavorato per diversi anni per la Radiotelevisione svedese e altri media scandinavi, come reporter, occupandosi di politica, società, cultura e cronaca.

Sul libro
La censura della musica soffoca l’anima di una cultura. Questo libro fornisce per la prima volta un’indagine su scala globale dei casi di censura musicale nel mondo contemporaneo. Esamina inoltre le cause, i metodi e la logica che stanno alla base dei tentativida parte di governi, organizzazioni commerciali, autorità e gruppi di pressione religiosi di impedire che la gente ascolti determinata musica. Il libro tratta di una serie di casi riguardanti un numero incredibilmente vasto di paesi come Palestina, Turchia, Corea del Nord, Messico, Francia, Israele, Sudafrica, Afghanistan, Birmania, Cuba e Stati Uniti. Ciò richiama l’attenzione sull’enorme apprensione manifestata da autorità diverse in società differenti nei confronti della musica e sull’ampio armamentario di metodi repressivi adottati. Il volume illustra alcuni casi specificied esplora alla radice le ragioni delle preoccupazioni istituzionali, raccogliendo contributi di studiosi e giornalisti, offrendo testimonianze degli stessi musicisti ed esaminando, in due casi, anche le motivazioni fornite dagli stessi censori.

Su Freemuse
Freemuse è l’unica organizzazione internazionale dedicata alla documentazione della censura musicale, a livello globale, nel mondo contemporaneo, censura che non colpisce soltanto compositori ed esecutori ma anche il pubblico. L’organizzazione è impegnata nella creazione di una rete mondiale di supporto a favore degli artisti colpiti, nella diffusione di informazione sui casi di censura musicale e nell’analisi dei meccanismi repressivi messi in atto. Freemuse è nata nel 1999 con il nome di World Forum on Music and Censorship e ha costituito il proprio segretariato nel 2000 ( È finanziata dal Ministero degli Affari Esteri danese e dall’Agenzia Svedese per la Cooperazione e lo Sviluppo internazionale (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).



Read more about 'Shoot the Singer!'
The original English edition


More information (in Italian language) – 27 April 2007:
‘Canzoni in gabbia – La censura musicale oggi’

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