This post was written by Chantal Flores, a Nation intern and freelance writer living in New York City.
Musicians in this country don’t have it easy with the implosion of the music industry making it difficult for new acts to get paid for the work they produce. But, at least at the moment, they’re free from the death threats, imprisonment, intimidation and censorship afflicting their counterparts around the globe.
Recent examples include the five people killed when ten music shops were damaged in a bomb blast in Pakistan; the musicians banned from performing in Somalia and Iran officials for their ‘un-Islamic’ music, and the Mexican legislators working to ban “drug ballads.”
All around the world, threats to freedom of musical expression are growing. In response, Freemuse, an independent international organization working to defend freedom of expression for musicians and composers, started Music Freedom Day, a truly global happening which inspires increasing numbers of musicians and concert organizers to highlight violations of one of the oldest forms of expression. This March 3, the fourth annual Music Freedom Day will take place with major events planned in Mumbai, Kabul, Cairo, Amman, Gdansk, The Hague and New York, among many other places.
Celebrations include concerts, special radio programs, seminars, and workshops worldwide. In ,The Hague, Holland, a two-day event focusing on rap and hip-hop culture is being organized and in Mumbai, French singer Barbara Carlotti will be offering a live performance. In New York, Brooklyn-based Cruel Black Dove will play covers of “illegal” Iranian band The Plastic Wave, an electronic band founded in Tehran by two young musicians, Natch and Maral Afsharian, as part of “The Impossible Music Sessions,” a new project looking to provide a space for censored artists. In Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Kabul, radio and TV stations will present special programmes on music censorship and freedom of expression.
Check out what other people are planning on March 3 and stage your own event celebrating freedom of musical expression if there’s nothing going on in your area. You can also support Freemuse in a variety of ways, including joining the network, spreading the word and reporting violations.
Finally, because this is a post about music, check out this video from Cruel Black Dove, the group headlining New York City’s Music Freedom Day event.