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1700-1899 Latin America, Caribbean

1 January 2001

1700s til today. Mexico. Son jarocho The Catholic Church banned son jarocho – one of Mexico’s most politically charged musical genres – during the 18th century on the grounds it was immoral, and first the Spanish, then the Mexican authorities tried to isolate and suppress the genre. The most famous …

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1950s USA, Canada

1 January 2001

1950s. USA. Paul Robeson In the 1950s, musicians as well as the denizens of Hollywood felt the force of the McCarthyite witchhunts and the House Committee on Un-American Activities. No-one more so than Paul Robeson. According to Julian Petley’s article in Index of Censorship in 1998, Paul Robeson is “undoubtedly …

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1900-1949 USA, Canada

1 January 2001

1939. USA. Billie Holiday Billie Holiday crooned against the lynching of black men in the song ‘Strange Fruit’. The “strange fruit” of the title are lynched blacks, hanging from trees across the American south. This powerful political song was banned on the American radios. The song was written by the …

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1900-1949 Middle East, North Africa

1 January 2001

100s. Israel / Palestine Instruments were essentially banished from the synagogue after the destruction of the Second Temple, a ban which served as both a sign of national mourning and a bid to dissuade Jews from listening to secular music.The ban largely remained in place for another 1,500 years or …

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1950-2000 Europe, Russia

1 January 2001

1967. United Kingdom. Scott Walker Scott Walker’s cover of Jacques Brel’s song ‘Jacky’ is the first record to be banned by BBC Radio 1. 1967. Greece. Mikis Theodorakis The 1967 military coup in Greece led to the imprisonment and torture of internationally known singer Mikis Theodorakis. Eventually he was released …

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1900-1949 Europe, Russia

1 January 2001

1924. Turkey. Kurdish music and Whirling Dervishes Despite the 1924 constitution’s claim that “in Turkey, from the point of view of citizenship, everyone is a Turk without regard to race or religion”, an official decree in March 1924 banned all Kurdish folklore and gramophone recordings of Kurdish music were destroyed. …

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1800-1899 Europe, Russia

1 January 2001

1800s. Germany. Clara Schumann (1819-1892) Clara Schumann’s father Friedrich Wieck had resolved before her birth that she should become a piano virtuoso to profit by her financially. This is the reason, why she got an intensive musical education contrary to the most female musical coevals. Already as a teen she …

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1700-1799 Europe, Russia

1 January 2001

1738–1788. Germany. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach  Much of the music composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was censored by Frederick the Great Source: en.wikipedia.org 1700s. Italy and Europe The Vatican banned public performances of opera, and also banned women from signing in performances. Cardinals who liked opera, such as Pietro …

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…-1699 Europe, Russia

1 January 2001

375 B.C.   Greece The first significant written account of a proposal to censor music is found in Plato’s ‘Republic’, written in roughly 375 B.C. In one of the most famous passages of ancient literature to deal with music, we find Socrates, Plato’s mentor and mouthpiece, engaged in a dialogue …

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1980-2000 Asia

1 January 2001

1980s. Pakistan. Music was banned on PTV, the national tv station in Pakistan. 1980s til today. North Korea In North Korea, music is controlled by a government which encourages light, state-sponsored music, or music with patriotic worker-driven themes played on radios or in public by large worker’s orchestras. Kim Jong …

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