Shoot the Singer! Media coverage and reviews

23 November 2004
Below are excerpts from some of the reviews of Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today – the first worldwide presentation of contemporary cases of music censorship.
Scroll down for full listing of media coverage.

“Even the most liberal commentators justify bans on songs that incite hatred. Yet as Freemuse notes, the simple truth is that when it comes to censorship, it doesn’t matter what you decide to ban. What counts is who gets to do the banning.”
The Times, 12 June 2004

“The book is a pragmatic primer about how music has been treated and mistreated in many localities. Music is variously referred to as “the soul of a culture,” the “essence of life,” a “communal basis for social relationships,” our “most essential cultural expression,” “freedom,” and a “sensual instrument of power.” While all those are hard to quantify, the responses to music by a range of would-be censors, be they police, clerics, generals, bureaucrats, broadcasters, or concert promoters, give eloquent testimony to the power they perceive in music. Shoot The Singer provides solid and insightful discussions of music as an element of culture across broad national and religious backgrounds.”
IASPM / The International Association for the Study of Popular Music, September 2004
(Read full review)

“This is non-fiction with a very human touch. There’s everything from the mayhem Paul Simon’s “Graceland” caused in South Africa, to the significance of Pink Floyd in Burma. There’s also an accompanying CD of banned music which provides a great feel for the issues.”
HK Magazine (Hong Kong), 23 July 2004

“Everyone knows that radical opinions, news reporting and photographs are near the top of the list of things that the public need to be protected from, but you might be surprised to find that music is up there too  (…)  In Shoot the Singer you will be taken on a world tour of music censorship. Find out why the legendary Thomas Mapfumo has had to leave Zimbabwe. Listen to the tale of a young white police conscript in apartheid South Africa who was forced to hunt down the radical musicians that he slowly grew to love.”
Bookmarks (UK), Summer 2004, issue 23

“You get a CD taped inside the back cover of this collection of essays about “Music Censorship Today”, so you can listen to the cheerful, plinky waltz-time Mexican song which bigs up Osama bin Laden for frightening the Americans and relates a remarkable scene in which George Bush’s wife tells him to go to Afghanistan and offer Bin Laden “your ass”. The book does not suggest that this particular song has been censored, but it does describe how Mexico has seen many efforts to stamp out undesirable examples of the tradition of corrida, a sort of musical newspaper.
Anyway, singer Andrés Contreras should read the chapter about Bin Laden’s Taliban mates, who banned all forms of music and burned musical instruments, before deciding whose side he’s on. Other stories relate censorship and victimisation of musicians in Lebanon, Zimbabwe and Burma, and a few sparks of hope, such as the gradual reappearance of women musicians in Iran.”
The Guardian, 21 August 2004

“…a bewildering account of music censorship throughout the world. Bewildering, because the reader wonders what fear and fury could drive the Taliban to cut the hands off anybody found with a cassette player or musical instrument? What is it in music that frightens totalitarians so much?”
Charlie Gillett (BBC), July 2004

“It goes without saying that every Songlines reader should be a Freemuse supporter.”
Songlines, July/August 2004


“Censorship is never pretty, especially during an election year. Nevertheless, the CD that accompanies the recently published Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), two dozen essays collected by anticensorship activists Freemuse (, is a stunner. With a single notable exception, the consistently terrific tracks on the CD, by performers of Palestinian, Turkish, Mexican, and other origins, are linked by a common contrarian impulse — the kind that can frighten away potential venues and record companies, or get you exiled, thrown into prison or worse.”

e-music, September 2004  (Read full review)




Media coverage: Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today
Complete listing of media coverage. Last update: 23 November 2004

Sydsvenska Dagbladet (daily paper, Sweden. 4 March)
Arbetaren (daily paper, Sweden. 18 April)
Songlines (April/May)
Danish Broadcasting Corporation (Aung Zaw interview. 11 May)
Reuters (14 May)
Billboard (15 May)
Evening Standard (17 May)
BBC World Service, MusicBiz (18 May)
Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (18 May)
BBC Radio 3, Night Waves (20 May)
Artists Without Frontiers (21 May)
BBC News online (28 May)
Saudi Gazette (28 May)
ABC Radio / ‘Triple J’, Australia (2 June)
The Times (12 June)
Sydsvenska Dagbladet (daily paper, Sweden. 19 June)
Danish Broadcasting Corporation (23 June)
BBC/Sound of the World (3 July)
Afrika / Maatschappij Cultuur Reizen (NL, Summer 2004)
Djembe Magazine (Denmark)
Q Magazine
Dar Al-Hayat (23 October)

Musikeren (Musicians Union magazine, Denmark)
Helsingin Sanomat (Finland) (25/6)
HK Magazine (Hong Kong) (23 July)
Diario (Italy) (23 July)
Songlines (July/August)
Bookmarks (issue 23/Summer 2004)
The Guardian (21 August)
International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Review of Popular Music
e-music (September)
PEN News (Denmark) (October)
Morgenbladet (Norway) (22 October)
Ny Tid (Finland) (26 October)

Centre for Political Song
Music Business Canada
Pambazuka News
World Music Central
Blue Rhythm



Go to top
Related reading:


Shoot the Singer! Media coverage and reviews
Review excerpts and full media coverage listing of the Freemuse-edited book ‘Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today’
23 November 2004
Shoot the Singer! Book
‘Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today’ is the first worldwide presentation of contemporary cases of music censorship
25 May 2004
Shoot the Singer! Photos for download
Download photos from “Shoot the Singer!”
21 April 2004
Shoot the Singer! – table of contents
Read selected chapters of ‘Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today’ – and see the contents of the included CD
20 April 2004
Press release: Shoot the Singer!
New book on worldwide censorship of music. Edited by Marie Korpe, Freemuse. Published by Zed Books (London), 18 May 2004
20 April 2004

Home / News / Shoot the Singer! Media coverage and reviews