CD: Listen to the banned

Tiken Jah Fakoly about the new Freemuse CD album:
‘CD highlights artists who fight for justice’


The CD ‘Listen to the banned’ has been well received by broadcasters all over Europe. “Some broadcasters have mentioned that not only does the CD feature some important political songs but even has a ‘spiritual dimension’”, told Freemuse programme manager Ole Reitov, who has co-produced the album together with the artist Deeyah.

Since the CD was published on 3 March 2010, broadcasters in countries such as Swizz, Germany and the Czech Republic have featured special programmes about it, while other national radio stations, for instance in the Scandinavian countries, have featured live interviews with the imprisoned singer Lapiro de Mbanga from Cameroon and the exiled singer Tiken Jah Fakoly from Ivory Coast.

Interviewed by Jungeltelegrafen, the popular world music programme of the National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) in Norway, Tiken Jah Fakoly strongly supported his imprisoned colleague Lapiro de Mbanga:

“Lapiro did what artists must do in our societies, where people cannot speak freely. He fights for democracy and they should release him,” Tiken Jah Fakoly said. He added that he found ‘Listen to the banned’ an excellent idea:

“Normally people get trophies for selling most records, but this CD highlights artists, who fight for justice and that’s a good idea,” said the Freemuse Award Winner 2008.

His controversial call on corrupt political leaders to ‘Leave power’ is one of the songs featured on the CD and in terms of the message of the lyrics, it shares many similarities with the song ‘Constipated Constitution’ which led to the imprisonment of Lapiro de Mbanga in Cameroon.

CD enters World Music Chart
Soon after its release the Listen to the banned album entered the World Music Charts Europe at number 15.

Once a month more than fourty radio world music specialists from 23 European countries select their individual top ten favorites out of current world music releases from their playlists. The nominations are processed in a data-base and the Top 20 are published.

The charts are played throughout Europe in various radio stations. The official colourprint is displayed in many shops and displayed on many websites.

Musicians inprisoned, tortured, exiled
Lapiro de Mbanga is not the only artist featured on the CD, who has experienced imprisonment. So has Ferhat Tunc and the late Uighur singer, Kurash Sultan, who was imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities and after his escape found a new home in Sweden and a very fruitful musical collaboration with Ale Möller.

Several of the artists featured on the CD have collaborated with Freemuse for many years and their stories are told on They include Marcel Khalife, who spent time in a court room in Beirut charged with blasphemy, Chiwoniso, who was harassed by police in Zimbabwe and Mahsa Vahdat, the Iranian singer, who has performed at Music Freedom Day and at Freemuse related festivals several times.

‘Listen to the banned’ includes a booklet portraying some of the world’s most renowned artists facing censorship. Their stories are often painful, but they are also the stories of remarkable artists, who will not give in. Artists who believe they can make a difference.

The CD is published by Norway’s most successful music label, Grappa Records, and distributed internationally.

Where to buy the CD
‘Listen to the banned’ is distributed by different companies in Europe. In Norway, the digital files can be purchased here.
Listen or watch exclusive video and audio interviews about music and censorship with some of the artists here

Read more

Facts about the CD album

Reviews and interviews

  Read more about the CD

Listen to the music of the album


Track list


Tiken Jah Fakoly from Côte d’Ivoire

Click to read more about Aziza Brahim on
Click to read more about Ferhat Tunc on
Aziza Brahim from Western Sahara, and Ferhat Tunç from TurkeyPhotographed by Hawta Muhammadali on Music Freedom Day 2009 in Stockholm


Related reading on


USA: Radio station focuses on Freemuse CD and music censorship
The Freemuse CD ‘Listen to the banned’ and discussions about the power of music, and music censorship, was in focus in a one-hour radio show on Wisconsin’s public radio
11 November 2010
Radio Without Borders: Listen to the Banned
Here on Earth – Radio Without Borders, a one-hour live programme on Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasted a special feature programme about the album ‘Listen to the banned’
10 November 2010
Songlines review of Freemuse CD: ‘It is Top of the World’
Songlines, an influential UK-based world music magazine, has chosen the CD ‘Listen to the banned’ as Top of the World in their August 2010 issue
11 August 2010
CD: Listen to the banned
Compiled by the artist Deeyah and Freemuse, this CD compilation album is published on 3 March 2010 by Norway’s most successful music label, Grappa Records
15 March 2010
Facts about the CD ‘Listen to the banned’
Track list, cover photo for download, and general information about the Freemuse CD ‘Listen to the banned’, published in March 2010
03 March 2010
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