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3 RD FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE ON MUSIC & CENSORSHIP ISTANBUL 25-26 NOVEMBER 2006 MUSIC WILL
3 RD
FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE
ON MUSIC & CENSORSHIP
ISTANBUL 25-26 NOVEMBER 2006
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3

RD

FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE

ON MUSIC & CENSORSHIP

ISTANBUL 25-26 NOVEMBER 2006

Published by Freemuse

Conference Rapporteur and Report Writer: Teresa Hanley

Session Rapporteurs:

Doruk Yurdesin (session 8)

Bram Posthumus (session 9-11)

Conference Photos:

Editor in Chief: Marie Korpe

ISSN: 1601-2127

Layout & Graphics:

Anna Schori

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Ümit Kurt

Printed in ‹stanbul, Turkey 2007 by Ömür Matbaas›

© Freemuse 2007

The views in the report do not necessarily represent the views of Freemuse.

Report no. 08/2007

OTHER PUBLICATIONS BY FREEMUSE

st

“1 World Conference on Music and Censorship

(2001, ISBN: 87-988163-0-6)

“Can you stop the birds singing?- The Censorship of Music in Afghanistan,

by John Baily (2001, ISSN: 1601-2127)

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“A Little Bit Special- Censorship and the Gypsy Musicians of Romania,

by Garth Cartwright (2001, ISSN: 1601-2127)

“Playing With Fire- Fear and Self-Censorship in Zimbabwean Music,

by Banning Eyre (2001, ISSN: 1601-2127)

“Which way Nigeria?- Music under threat: A Question of Money, Morality,

Self-censorship and the Sharia (also available in French), by Jean-Christophe Servant

(2003, ISSN: 1601-2127)

th

“Singing in the Echo Chamber- Music Censorship in the U.S. after September 11 ,

by Eric Nuzum (2005, ISSN: 1601-2127)

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“All that is Banned is Desired- Conference on Freedom of Expression in Music in Beirut

2005, (2006, ISSN: 1601-2127)

“Hidden Truths - Music, Politics and Censorship in Lukashenko´s Belarusby Lemez Lovas & Maya Medich (2006, ISSN: 1601-2127)

Freemuse Nytorv 17 · 1450 Copenhagen K · Denmark www.freemuse.org +45 33 32 10 27

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

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SESSION 1

AFGHANISTAN

You can’t stop the birds singing

SESSION 2

INDONESIA

Singing with the Mullahs

SESSION 3

CUBA

Cuban alternative sounds……and silences

SESSION 4

ZIMBABWE

Playing with fire – but no fuel

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SESSION 5

SOUTH AFRICA

On tour with the enemy

SESSION 6

BELARUS

Hidden Truths – launch of new Freemuse report

SESSION 7

SESSION 8

SESSION 9

SESSION 10

SESSION 11

TURKEY

And the ‘beat’ goes on – censorship in Turkey

CHINA

Singing under the Red Flag

WEST AFRICA

Africa wants to be free

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E

CED

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

All that is banned is desired

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Researching music censorship

FINAL REMARKS

SPEAKERS & MODERATORS

TESTIMONIES

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6

8

14

18

22

26

32

36

44

48

52

56

62

64

70

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///// 06/07

*

INTRODUCTION

*

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*

Listening to many of the horrifying testimonies by musicians and composers at the

3

rd

Freemuse World Conference on Music & Censorship one could easily get depressed.

But the spirit of the conference left most of the participants with a great deal of hope and

optimism.

Suggested by our main Turkish collaborator, composer and human rights activist, Sanar

Yurdatapan, Association of Freedom of Expression, the conference was held under the slogan

“Music will not be silenced”, and indeed the conference was a proof of this vital statement.

Musicians all over the world are being harassed. Composers are being jailed or exiled. Death

threats are even hitting music presenters. And music is being silenced in some spaces by

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dictators such as Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, by media controllers in China, police forces

and state television in Turkey and by the absurd political dictatorship in Belarus.

But musicians, composers and listeners do find their ways of bypassing even the strictest

censors.

Even in Afghanistan during the Taliban Regime, who officially banned all music – music did

find its way to some houses and cars through “illegal” cassettes, private gatherings and

Well, yes even the Taliban did not manage to “(can you)

SSttoopp tthhee bbiirrddss ssiinnggiinngg

– the title of

the first ever Freemuse report written by Professor John Baily in 2001.

The combination of participants - researchers, musicians, composers, human rights activists,

students and media may possibly be the best explanation to the special atmosphere at the

Freemuse conferences and the reason why Baily later commented “a fantastic experience,

probably the most interesting and certainly the most moving conference I have ever

attended.”

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Certainly the participants were magnetised from the very first minute of the conference by the

exceptional voices of Iranian sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat. Artists of world class who are

not able to perform for mixed audiences in their home country. This is what music censorship

is about - voices that are not being heard and allowed to develop in their own countries.

The opening of day two - a dozen testimonies by Turkish composers and performers

witnessing about harassments, jailing and threats provoked tears and anger…but also action.

The very same artists from Turkey launched the SSS initiative - Sanatta Sansüre Son - which

means “End to Censorship on Arts” after the session. This may be one of the reasons Mahsa

Vahdat after the conference declared that “it was so moving for us. It gives us more power

and courage to continue our aim in our work

Meeting colleagues, exchanging experiences and creating network is an essential part of the

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Freemuse conferences. In Istanbul this was made possible by the generous collaborations

with our partners – Bilgi University and Professor Turgut Tarhanl› playing a very special role

inviting us to make use of the university facilities.

Istanbul – for many other reasons – also seemed to be the right place at the right time, best described by Songlines editor, Simon Broughton in his editorial as ”the perfect location because it’s a vibrant city and Turkey has undergone a dramatic transformation in terms of freedom of speech and music.”

The vibrant city was well made use of in what has become a great world conference tradition – “the farewell party” where speakers and participants join each other and the artists perform and join in new formations. This time the after party became a world class jam-session when Turkey’s most celebrated and reclusive singer Sezen Aksu came to join and sing with the other amazing conference artists.

This report presents in short the discussions, testimonies and papers presented at the conference.

Teresa Hanley did the major job of being conference rapporteur and writing the report. The impressive Turkish session was referred in detail by Doruk Yurdesin and finally did Bram Posthumus add his impressions of the final sessions.

Some of you were not able to attend, and papers do not always reflect the personality of the speakers, so in addition to the report we would like to offer the voices and faces of some of the speakers.

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For the first time in a Freemuse report we add a CD-R with some of the interviews that our web editor, Mik Aidt, made in Istanbul assisted by Gaelle Gauthier-Brown. The CD-R also includes two songs that in many ways are the result of the networks that our conferences have been able to create. During the conference several of our media collaborators decided to move on with an idea

that originally came from CBC producer, Ann MacKeigan – the Music Freedom Day.

E

Ole Reitov

Freemuse asked Jason Carter and Marjan Vahdat to record a song – they performed for the

first time together at the amazing afterparty – and rapper Ourrad Rabah to consider making a

song on “music censorship” for this special occasion. Included in the CD-R you will find these

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amazing songs.

Conference Project Manager

//////////////////////////////////////////

The Conference was hosted by Bilgi University and organised in association with Association

for Freedom of Expression, Association for Intercultural Communication and Turkish Pen.

All local partners are deeply involved in the protection of freedom of expression for artists.

Freemuse receives core funding from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

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CED

//////////////////////////////////////////

Special thanks to:

Zeynep Taflk›n, Freemuse co-ordinator in Turkey, fianar Yurdatapan and his team, Turgut Tarhanl›, Füsun Özatav & Seda Peker, Bilgi, Burçak Ada Döner, Sinan Odabafl› & Selim Sezer, conference guides, the BANT Magazine Team, Vecdi Sayar, Ferhat Tunç, our friends at HBF, Nazl› B at Richmond, Annika Svahnström & Ingmar Karlsson, Consulate General of

Sweden in Istanbul, Layla Al-Zubaidi, Gaelle Gauthier-Brown, McTia, Sally Ouattara and not the least all speakers, participants and media who attended.

///// 08/09

SESSION 1

AFGHANISTAN “You can’t stop the birds singing”

PANEL

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John Baily, Professor, Goldsmiths College, UK Shakeb Isaar, Exiled VJ from Afghanistan Mirwaiss Sidiqi, Programme Manager, Aga Khan Music Initiative for Central Asia, Afghanistan

Moderator: Simon Broughton, Editor of Songlines

*

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A significant first session, Afghanistan which has experienced probably the most extreme forms of music censorship was also the subject of the first Freemuse report. This session explored the current situation of music in Afghanistan, placing it in its recent historical context and probed the grounds and potential of optimism for the future.

John Baily, author of the first Freemuse report, Professor of Ethnomusicology at Goldsmiths University of London and a long-time active observer and researcher of censorship and ethno-musicology in Afghanistan spoke first. John commented on the remarkable return of music to the streets of Kabul where there are signs in the streets for music and instruments – modern and traditional. Outlining the more recent history of censorship in Afghanistan since the 1970s John highlighted that indeed there had been censorship before the civil war started when there was some state control over the press and the country’s only radio station, Radio Afghanistan. In particular, criticism of the monarchy was to be avoided and standards of “good taste” maintained.

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During the Jihad period, 1978-1992, there was intense censorship by both sides. The commu- nist government in Kabul was keen to promote music in general, as a manifestation of a modern socialist state, but there was tight control over what was performed on state owned radio and television and other areas of public performance. The situation of the Mujahideen

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED /// simon broughton, shakeb isaar, mirwaiss sidigi, john baily
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/// simon broughton, shakeb isaar, mirwaiss sidigi, john baily

was rather more complicated. In the refugee camps run by the Mujahideen in Pakistan, music was forbidden. Former professional and amateur musicians kept quiet, music was not to be played on cassette or listened to on the radio. One justification for this was that the people in the camps were in a state of permanent mourning on the part of the many families who had lost members in the war. Yet the music bazaars of cities like Peshawar sold lots of cassettes with songs about the war, some with the sounds of gunfire mixed in.

Double standards have been at play during much of Afghanistan’s history of censorship. This continued in areas under Mujahideen control which came into power in 1992. This came to John’s attention in visits to Herat in 1994. “Herat, under the control of the former Mujahideen commander Ismail Khan, was a city in a condition of deep austerity, although the economy was booming with the return of wealthy businessmen who had been in exile in Iran ”

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There were heavy restrictions on music, but a certain amount of musical activity was allowed. Music could be performed by male musicians at private parties indoors, but Herat’s professional women musicians were forbidden to perform. Technically, male musicians could perform at wedding parties, but experience had shown that very often the religious police would break up such a party and confiscate the instruments, which were usually returned to the musicians some days later when a fine or bribe had been paid. Yet on occasion musicians were called upon to play (without payment) at official receptions for honoured guests, such as a delegation from Iran… Paradoxically, in 1995 three well-known Herati musicians were issued with passports by the Herat authorities to travel to Paris to play at an important concert in the Theatre de la Ville, demonstrating that musicians could be sent abroad as cultural ambassadors, while their voices at home were stifled.”

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John turned to the time of the Taliban which took control of Kabul in 1996 and he highlighted the extremity of censorship at this stage. “This was a truly extreme example of censorship, not just a restriction on certain genres or certain songs, but on everything, a ban on music itself, a prohibition well beyond the normal definitions of censorship. The disembowelled audiocassette, tape waving in the breeze, became an icon of Taliban rule. Musical instruments were destroyed; they were hung from trees in mock execution or burned in public in sports stadia, where public executions, amputations and floggings were also carried out. Musicians caught playing music were severely beaten, even to be identified as a former musician was dangerous, and most professional musicians left for Pakistan or Iran.”

///// 10/11

Interestingly, whilst all forms of music were banned the only form of what might be considered music that was allowed was the so-called Taliban chants, or taranas. “If from an ethno-musicological perspective we do consider Taliban taranas to be a form of music, it shows that when one thing is censored it is often to promote something else which is uncensored.”

Even in areas not under Taliban control such as Badakhsan in north-east Afghanistan extreme restrictions were applied by the Mujahideen. However, double standard were often at play here too.

“You c stop th singing

People organized around these restrictions, hiding instruments behind walls and playing

music in basement rooms. As one man put it in the film Breaking the Silence: “Whenever

there is a marriage party we have to have music, to dance, to enjoy ourselves. But we were

not allowed to have such instruments, to play it, but secretly we did.”

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With such extreme censorship then perhaps it is not surprising that music became

associated with the liberation of Afghanistan from Taliban control. “The very sound of music

became a symbol, even a signal, of freedom. Once you heard music coming from your local

radio station you knew the Taliban had lost control. The sound of music heralded a return

to (comparative) normality; for the chronic absence of music is symptomatic of a

dysfunctional society.”

*

However, this mood of euphoria felt in many parts of the country was short-lived.

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Afghanistan today is in many ways a reversion to the immediate pre-Taliban situation, with

the Northern Alliance the successors to the Rabbani Coalition, and Hekmatyar in alliance

with remnants of the Taliban and other extreme fundamentalists.

Strong censorship of music continues. The Ministry for Information and Culture has given

wide ranging and contradictory reasons for continued censorship, such as the restrictions

on women singing publicly. They have said they do not want to provide an easy means for

fundamentalist enemies of the government to stir up trouble. Other times the government

has said it is for the women’s own protection, that to broadcast images of them would put

the women themselves in danger of attack. Other times the lack of women musicians has

been cited as the reason they are not broadcast. However, women have been shown

performing. Notably, on the 12th January 2004, a few days after the ratification of the new

constitution for Afghanistan by a Loya Jirga (National Assembly), Kabul TV, the state

television station, broadcast old video footage of women singers Parasto and Salma

performing. Explaining the reasons for this dramatic break with the recent announcement,

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Information and Culture Minister Sayed Makdoom Raheen told Reuters,

“We are endeavouring to perform our artistic works regardless of the issue of sex

broadcast launched a debate involving the media, politicians and even the Supreme Court all with differing views.

” This

In closing this section, John highlighted how at various points in the Afghan history music has been a focus for the exercise of political power. In the Jihad period the Mujahideen banned music in the refugee camps, but used it for their own entertainment in the war zone. In Herat, musicians were under extreme pressure but occasionally were summoned

to play by the local authorities to entertain visiting dignitaries, or sent abroad as cultural ambassadors. In Paghman the people complained that the gunmen had music for themselves but prevented others from having access to it. After the passing of a new constitution the Afghan Government reinstated women singers on state television. The Supreme Court tried to bring back the ban on state broadcasts of women singing but was unsuccessful. Censorship in these cases would seem to be less to do with banning music itself, but with music serving as a convenient arena for the exercise of power.

The second speaker, Shakeb Isaar, born in Afghanistan where he worked as a presenter and producer of some entertainment programmes and a music programme on Kabul’s most

popular youth TV and Radio station, Tolo TV and Arman FM Radio. However, after receiving

an’t

death threats from radical religious groups he received asylum in Sweden where he continues

working as Tolo TV’s Europe entertainment correspondent.

Shakeb described the conditions he had worked under in Afghanistan which led to his flight

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from Afghanistan to seek asylum outside. Change was at a rapid pace with widespread

popular optimism at the fall of the Taliban and new opportunities to play music emerging

rapidly. New TV and radio stations were set up and they started to play all types of music

including music from the west. A station Shakeb worked for was initially a local station for

Kabul but now operates via satellite and reaches and is listened to in 23 countries. The station

is incredibly popular. The team that Shakeb was part of organised programmes such as pop

idol and other talent competitions with incredible listener response indicating their popularity.

e birds

However, Shakeb reported how the optimism was short-lived and some of the freedoms that

were announced were not put into action at all. “Time and again we faced difficulties from

people with power” said Shakeb. In 2005 when the station started to broadcast music from

around the world, one of his colleagues, a 24 year old woman was killed. “She had different

ideas, not conservative. She wanted to share her ideas with the people.” At this point Shakeb

himself fled Afghanistan and with the support from Freemuse and Reporters without Frontiers

found asylum in Sweden.

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Freemuse and Reporters without Frontiers found asylum in Sweden. MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED ” MUSIC
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Freemuse and Reporters without Frontiers found asylum in Sweden. MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED ” MUSIC

/// shakeb isaar

///// 12/13

Shakeb talked of how the majority of the population was interested and supportive of the station but that a minority, he puts at 10%, are against. He thought the minority’s reason against the playing of western music derived often from politics and self-interest. To secure power some politicians had tied themselves to political alliances with conservative groups and so had to hold to their rules. Some people feared that full freedom of expression would lead to opposition to them and they would lose benefits gained under the new regime.

There is also a cultural issue associated with some forms of censorship in Afghanistan. Non-Afghan music is seen by some as decadent. Music videos seen as sexually provocative are particularly targeted. For instance, discussing a Shakira video in which the artiste is wearing tight clothes Shakeb says “The video was banned and said to be heretic. Not good

for the male generation to see this type of stuff. When women come in short clothes or if men

“You c stop th singing

and women touch each other just hand in hand – they are banned. If I play Madonna’s music

they change the picture. You can just hear the sound of Madonna, not see the pictures.”

The media itself is now part of this process of censorship, exercising self-censorship, for

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instance showing Bollywood films but in a censored version. Indeed Shakeb feels that the

extent of self-censorship is actually increasing now, “People want to live in the country. They

have families. Women especially are under attacks and [suffer from] harassment. There is now

more censorship than in the beginning.”

Shakeb highlighted the danger of this in stunting new musical development: “We have

provided music for hundreds of years to Central Asia. It is now coming back to us from other

parts of Asia with another face. We need time to change it again to make it our music.”

face. We need time to change it again to make it our music.” MUSIC WILL NOT

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an’t

The third speaker, Mirwaiss Sidiqi is Afghanistan Programme Manager of the Aga Khan Music

Initiative for Central Asia. The programme, begun in 2003, established a music school for

traditional Afghan music and currently has 97 students. The school aims to support traditional

music and to transfer music to the next generation. The Aga Khan Foundation wanted to

support music traditions, banned under the Taliban and Mujahadeen since 1994 to ensure

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they do not die out. Concerned that the art of making these instruments may soon die out, the

Aga Khan Foundation provides grants to families which have traditionally made the

instruments so they can afford to buy the wood to make instruments such as the Rubab.

Mirwaiss described the extent to which both the war and Taliban censorship had combined

almost to destroy musical traditions in Afghanistan. For instance the Kabul music quarter,

Kuch e Kharabet was destroyed in the fighting because it was located next to a military

e birds

sensitive area. When the different warlords finished their fighting the musicians had left the

area, the houses were gone and there was nothing left.

For Mirwaiss, there is space for optimism. “Now there is hope…

music is going well in

Afghanistan. There are some 300 musical groups recording in Afghanistan. There are also

50 students in Herat as well as nearly 100 in Kabul. People like to learn, to appreciate the

traditional music which was nearly lost with the arrival of keyboards and electronic music.”

The students of the Aga Khan music schools play concerts in Kabul – though these are

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predominantly confined to somewhat elite audiences in the expensive hotels. But Mirwaiss

finds hope in the fact that the musicians are now returning to the Kabul quarter and also that

there are requests for more schools in Kandahar.

Mirwaiss highlighted some of the challenges they face. There is little if any support from the

government for traditional music despite the organisation’s requests for support. The general

public now also often listens and requests more modern music. For instance, questioned by

Simon Broughton, Mirwaiss agreed that the new electronic instruments were also a threat to

traditional music. One of the major arenas for music is at weddings. Nowadays, he said, new groups with electronic keyboards and other instruments tend to play at these.

Mirwaiss also highlighted that political alliances are leading to continued censorship now. Saying that some of the current government power comes from support from previous warlords, this coalition with conservative Islamists, results in a pressure on government to censor. This censorship is experienced by journalists as well as musicians.

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Daniel Brown posed the question as to why the government is so reticent to rebuild society’s fabric around music. Mirwaiss said, “Music is not just entertainment but is a language. We can pass messages through music. Because musicians are so popular. If they sing something it will be so much more effective than a political statement. That’s the fear of the government.”

Mirwaiss continued the theme of the power and importance of music saying, “People like to learn, to appreciate the traditional music which was nearly lost with the arrival of keyboards and electronic music. The traditional music is the base of our country. If we lose that we do not have a foundation. Without a foundation you cannot build a country.”

///// 14/15 SESSION 2 SPEAKER *
///// 14/15
SESSION 2
SPEAKER
*

INDONESIA “Singing with the Mullas”

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Andrew Fuller, PhD Student University of Tasmania, Australia

In the session “Singing with the Mullahs” Andrew Fuller explored the relationship between politics, censorship and art. In particular, he considered how the more open political climate of the post-Suharto regime has affected Indonesian rock musicians.

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To illustrate that in Indonesia pop music is not usually forbidden, the session opened with three musical excerpts, all considered to be “permissible”. The first, by the group Dewa, a band that is the main subject of the session, was an uncontroversial secular love song, unlike some of their more recent “love” songs that have sparked hot debate. The second, which featured more experimental music was by a Javanese musician Sujiwo Tejo, whose self-declared aim is to entertain and who removes himself from any social agenda. Finally, the third song was by a band called Opick, a more recent phenomenon on the Indonesian music scene, who sing popular, Islamic devotional songs. Some might comment that Opick are capi- talising on the general increase in Islamic sentiment throughout Indonesia. Together, these represent something of the range of music being played in Indonesia which has been relatively open since the fall of Suharto. When there has been a problem it has usually stemmed from a perceived inappropriate use of Islamic material or for being too sexual.

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The fall of Suharto in 1998 and the slower decline of his allies was greeted with general optimism. A new era was announced, “reformasi”, in which it was announced there would be a re-shaping of Indonesian culture. Under Suharto, Indonesians had experienced an oppressive culture in which democracy and freedom of speech were severely limited. However, the changes of the past six years have not been so straightforward. Whilst the media has become more free in the sense that there are more and more newspapers being

/// andrew fuller

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED published, there has also been an increase in actions against
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published, there has also been an increase in actions against musicians, artists and writers.
The aims of the “reformasi” are yet to be fulfilled.
During the Suharto regime, the ministry of information maintained a tight control on the
freedom of the press. One policy was that issues relating to race, ethnicity, religion and class
were not to be discussed. An unofficial policy was also that anything relating to the
President’s wealth could not be discussed. The ideology of this period which spanned almost
thirty years was “development”; anyone and anything perceived as an obstacle to this was
considered an enemy. Separatists in Aceh and East Timor were brutally suppressed.
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An example of censorship in this time was that of the writer, Seno Gumira Ajidarma. Following the Dili massacre in 1991, as editor of Jakarta-Jakarta magazine, he published eye-witness accounts of the massacres. He was soon fired from his position as editor. He went on to write a book “Ketika Junaisme Dibungkam, Sastra Harus Bicara” (when journalism is silenced, literature must speak the truth). Another piece of his writing is Saksi Mata (Eyewitness) which dealt with violence in East Timor. Like many artists and writers, Seno’s social commentary has been disguised either through the techniques of surrealism or by not mentioning any specific locations. Like most artists during this time period Seno had to be very careful about every word. Andrew Fuller asks in this session, “Have things changed?”

Fuller asks in this session, “Have things changed?” Recently moves were made to open and publish

Recently moves were made to open and publish an Indonesian edition of Playboy. This was severely opposed by many sectors of Indonesian society, in particular by a group known as Front Pembela Islam or Defenders of Islam. Only one edition was published. The Defenders of Islam Front attacked the Playboy offices and harassed newspaper and magazine stalls which dared to sell anything slightly pornographic. The demonstrations against Playboy were characterised by flag and magazine burnings, anti-West placards, threats of legal action and ultimately the destruction of the Playboy magazine’s Jakarta office. The Indonesian attempts to appease both mainstream and hard-line Islamic groups seems set to introduce a sweeping anti-pornography law which has given rise to popular fears about the return of censorship, self-censorship and the Islamification of Indonesian society culture and politics.

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Andrew draws on the work of the South African writer JM Coetzee who explored the way that censorship invades the inner, creative life of a writer in his book “Giving Offence: Essays on Censorship” (1996). He also referred to work by Samuel Huntington who discusses censorship

///// 16/17

which is not in the form of state surveillance but is carried out by “local cultures” such as private bodies including publishing houses, television networks, film studios and religious organisations.

The focus of Andrew’s talk was around the work of the band, Dewa 19 and in particular its founding member Ahmad Dhani. Dhani is no stranger to controversy, having come into this spotlight when he appeared on Indonesian Idol wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Haram” meaning forbidden. By many, this was assumed to be a statement on the fatwa (edict) issued by Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation against the content of Indonesian entertainment journalism, often called “infotainment”. Ahmad Dhani is a practising Muslim. In recent years, the band Dewa 19 has found itself upsetting some Islamic groups. The cover of their 7th album “Laskar Cinta” (Soldiers of Love, 2004) caused significant uproar. This was because it was believed by some to be a slightly modified version of the Arabic calligraphy representing “Allah” and it was deemed inappropriate to put on an album cover. In a flurry of media attention, the radical Islamic organization, Front Pembela Islam lodged court proceedings against Dewa 19 asking for the album cover to be modified. Dewa 19 refused to acknowledge that the album icon was referring to “Allah” at all. However, controversy became worse when the band used the symbol as a concert stage prop in the form of a rug covering the state. Most upsetting for some was the fact the offending rug was placed under the feet of band members. Led by a “mullah” Ustadz Wahfiduddin, “viewers” made a number of calls to TransTV which was relaying the live concert. Camera angles were adjusted and in a commercial break the rug was removed and replaced. TransTV later apologised for any offence caused.

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Dewa 19 followed these comments with a bold response. Their latest album Republic Cinta (Republic of Love, 2006) can be seen as a critical response to their growing league of Islamic detractors. It is also a comment on recent political and sectarian violence emerging in post-Suharto Indonesia. The band includes Arab musical conventions in its guitar, strings and percussion arrangements. But most overtly are the words to the music which derive from the Qu’ran and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). Delivered in a dispassionate polemical style, they explicitly denounce religious prejudice, violence and terrorism and instead promote peace, religious tolerance and love. This has been interpreted as a blatant response to Laskar Jihad, a well known organisation in Indonesia responsible for episodes of Islamic radicalism and sectarian violence. Laskar Jihad translates as “Warriors of Jihad”. The first verse of Dhani’s lyrics in Laskcar Cinta, Warriors of Love – explicitly reject their methods of operation. They promote peace and love – both textually and musically they are a strong statement and were an instant success in Indonesia.

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MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED “ Weren’t all of us created as either men or

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Weren’t all of us created as either men or women, destined to become many tribes and lands, no two of them exactly the same? Shouldn’t we be seeking to under- stand and respect each other rather than fight and raise weapons against each other

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(from Warriors of Love)

Andrew made the claim that Dewa 10 appeared to be fighting “the fire of radical Islam with the fire of liberal Islam”. Maybe to emphasise this point the band has made use of religious symbols such as playing several concerts dressed in all-white “Muslim” attire (even the Christian lead singer doing this one). They have also incorporated whirling dervishes into their act.

Andrew summed up out how Indonesia has seen the re-emergence of writers and artists who were sidelined in the Suharto era. However, Indonesia is facing another critical moment. Demands of conservative and radical Muslims have attempted to threaten the freedom of musicians such as Ahmad Dani who has been using music as a means to instil and reinforce pluralisms of Indonesia’s Islamic tradition. Political Islam, a movement which itself was repressed under Suharto has emerged as a new and equally oppressive force. The “new” culture of censorship is a challenge for artists and musicians in Indonesia – the interconnections between art, politics and society will become even more important. Andrew says, “Ahmad Dani’s role and conviction as a figure motivated by Islam is increasingly courageous.”

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SESSION 3

CUBA

Cuban alternative

sounds

and Silences”

PANEL

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Mario Masvidal Saavedra, Professor, Institute Superior de Arte Havana, Cuba Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Assistant Professor, University of California, Freemuse Executive Committee Member, USA

A dialogue between Ariana Hernandez-Reguant and Mario Masvidal highlighted many of the difficulties faced by Cuban musicians to play without restriction, but also the ways that they continually find to circumvent attempts to censor their music. Running through the somewhat turbulent phases of music censorship since the 1953 Cuban Revolution, the two speakers focused on the experience of so-called “alternative music” in Cuba.

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*

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In the forty years since the revolution, American and British music has been considered to be the music of the enemy. This excluded rock music from mainstream support and at times it suffered out-right bans. Cuban traditional music did not suffer from restrictions that other types of music experienced unless it contained politically sensitive lyrics. Most of the difficulties over the years have been experienced by bands playing rock and rap. Even when they have begun to find spaces to play in the past few years, they have not received attention and exposure through the media that other forms of music enjoy.

Cultural anthropologist Ariana Hernandez-Reguant illustrated the continuing difficulties facing rock musicians in Cuba with the story of rock singer Gorki Luis Águila Carrasco who was imprisoned for four years in 2003. His conviction, for alleged possession of drugs received a hefty sentence out of line with usual lengths of imprisonment for the scale of the crime. This was thought to be part of a more systematic crackdown on rock music which had also seen the closure of some of the main rehearsal areas in the past year. However, Ariana recounted how some members of the band got around these restrictions, “In the March 2005 biennial arts festival in Havana the first band announced was called “Anonymous performers”. They came out and they were all wearing masks so you could not tell who they were. But they were all wearing shorts. I recognized their legs. When I went backstage it was them!”

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Dr. Mario Masvidal Saavedra, Professor of Linguistics, Communication Theory and Semiotics, at the Higher Institute of Arts of Havana has hosted a weekly radio show for 12 years and also now hosts a musical TV show. In his background paper “Cuban Alternative Music: The Sound of Silence” he provides a taxonomy of Cuban music which ranges from the traditional son music, the trova which includes forms like bolero and the traditional romantic son, guarach ensembles, forms including just the drum player and the singer often termed the rumba but there are also others. This form of music has often been performed by non-professionals in their communities. Folkloric music includes rural music, also the musica campesina of Spanish origin and other music brought by immigrants from for instance Jamaica, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Haiti and others in the Caribbean.

Mario points out how the “complexity of the taxonomical net also reveals the richness of the music played in the island and its strong presence and influence on its people. Cubans tend

to believe their music is the greatest and that it exerts a huge paramount influence on the rest

of the musical forms around the world

of the Cuban national identity.” Mario observes that as music is so important, it is not surprising if the political agenda has at times included attempts to exert control over it. Loving Cuban music came to be associated with being patriotic, so loving non-Cuban music came to be seen as a non-patriotic attitude. This pattern of thought grew in the early sixties with various events including the US government embargo on the island, with the Bay of Pigs 3-day war in 1961 and the Missile Crisis in 1962. The Cuban Revolution itself became more radical in terms of ideological, political and cultural issues. “Therefore rock and roll, calypso, pop ballads, jazz, blues, country, folk, swing and any other foreign rhythms were tacitly banned practically overnight. Music and the public relationship to it moved to support the patriotic struggle for the preservation of the Cuban national identify.

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Music is a basic, decisive element in the architecture

The prominent role of music is illustrated by the fact that there has been a far more lenient official treatment and attitude to other arts and artists including writers, actors, director and playwrights than to musicians. This has led some Cuban researchers to study and document the censorship structure. One of these, Joaquin Borges Triana coined the term Musica Alternative Cubana (Cuban Alternative Music or CAM) to refer to those musical genres like rock, trova, rap, reggae, fusion, pop, flamenco, house, electro acoustic and others, which form alternative music and has often been officially overlooked, discriminated against and at times officially censored since the early 1960s.

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But almost from the beginning, young people have challenged these limits. For instance from 1964, amateur bands would appear, modelling themselves on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. They performed against very difficult conditions, some even making their own electric guitars and amps. Others, who took the route of the protest singer, were practically outlawed. They were rarely broadcast, banned because they too closely resembled Bob Dylan and so had to resort to play in parks and at friend gatherings. Others suffered more extreme reactions. For example, Pablo Milanes was conscripted and sent to special hard labour work camps where homosexuals and those who did not back the Revolution were sent for reformation. Silvio Rodriguez who was a singer/songwriter as well as the host of music TV shows was fired from his programme in 1968 for saying that the Beatles were great.

The 1970s were more benevolent to Cuban alternative music and a number of rock and pop bands emerged. Protest music and music of South America became more popular too as links grew with Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Dance music at this time faced a difficult time and until the late seventies had few outlets.

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Another major change came with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Cuba entered a severe economic crisis. One strategy was to open the gates to international tourism and with that came the arrival of a new music consumer, the foreign tourist; arrived eager to listen, dance and buy what they thought was Cuban music, salsa. The boom in salsa music began. “The pop ballad singer, the crooner, the romantic song singer, the bolero singer, the vocal ensembles: they all became dead dinosaurs of Cuban music overnight.”

The music industry can be another player in the silencing of music. Since the phenomenal success of the Buena Vista Social Club then, Cuban alternative music has clearly not been a priority for the Cuban music industry. Ariana highlighted the role of the foreign record pro- ducers. They look for Cuban “traditional music” not for rap and rock so the rock bands do not get international contracts – resulting in this music being marginalized internationally, as well as locally.

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this music being marginalized internationally, as well as locally. MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED MUSIC WILL
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this music being marginalized internationally, as well as locally. MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED MUSIC WILL

Rock “ceased to breath” until the late 1990s saw something of a recovery. A relaxation in official views of rock music was illustrated by the inauguration of a statue of John Lennon in a downtown park in Havana in a ceremony attended by the Cuban president and other dignitaries. This “old rock” euphoria only lived for four or five years until about 2005. The illusion of it, being totally accepted, disappeared. Whilst the young rockers of today enjoy a better time than in the past, some of the old prejudices have returned. There is an annual national rock festival and foreign bands are invited to perform at this. However, old rockers are not invited, nor allowed.

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In response to this new ban, new bands have emerged with a new attitude. One is Porno

Para Ricardo (The Popeye’s Golden Theory), which practices what Mario termed a kind of aggressive rock – they insult the audience, throw objects and do not show their real faces, perform wearing masks. They shun the official organization – the Associacion Hermanos Saiz (AHS) – a young artists organisation linked to the Young Communists. The AHS provides an ID card which operates as a type of passport almost for those working and moving around in the music industry. Some younger musicians and new bands pay little regard to these institutions.

A positive point that Mario points to is that there is some space now for a range of musicians

on TV shows. He hosts rock, rap, reggae, flamenco and los tovadores on his TV show. But he also points to the ongoing difficulties. “Still we have to fight to keep the programme on the air. There were directives from officials to get rid of the programme.” Mario illustrated the limits on the apparent current freedom discussing the annual award his TV show gives to the best rock band in Havana. The prize is the chance to cut a record. The music industry agrees to provide the prize but continually stalls the process so it always takes a long time, maybe two to three years for the record to be cut. In this way the industry colludes with censorship.

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Some groups now are trying to circumvent the industry and to cut and market their own records. The internet is providing a channel for bands to do their own marketing. They also go directly to radio stations, TV stations and put up posters to market their gigs. Smaller, provincial stations often will play music even though the national stations may not. Even if one

of these small stations is censored and closed another will start to take its place. Some DJs

and VJs, such as Mario will ignore directives not to play certain music and bands

Ariana moved onto discuss some of the taboos in musical discussion in Cuba, one of these is race and racism in Cuba. The 1960s revolution was supposed to result in a country free of racism. Asked if Cuban rap bands articulate race issues in their text or in their style, Ariana said that she felt there was some identification by the groups with race issues raised in other countries’ rap. The presence of the Black Panthers, given asylum in Cuba highlights this.

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Mario sums up his paper by saying that the Cuban alternative music has come a long way and some of the genres have achieved a certain level of official as well as mainstream recognition. However, there is still a struggle for full recognition to enable full creativity. Ending with a description of rap in Cuba saying that other bands have added more traditional Cuban elements to the American model – in terms of all music, dress and the beat – he says, “That is the normal evolution of music in Cuba, first you copy, then you mix and then you have something else.”

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SESSION 4

ZIMBABWE Playing with fire -but no fuel”

SPEAKER

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Maxwell Sibanda, Journalist, Freemuse Executive Committee member, Zimbabwe

Moderator Ole Reitov: Programme Officer, Freemuse, Denmark

*

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No fuel is only one of the many difficulties musicians are facing, along with rest of the popula- tion of Zimbabwe. In this session, Zimbabwean arts journalist Maxwell Sibanda described some of the intricacies of censorship in Zimbabwe, a country with inflation at over 1000% and no fuel. Maxwell, along with Zimbabwean colleagues and Freemuse, organised an extraordinary seminar in 2005 in Harare for journalists, members of the music industry and musicians, many of whom were banned, to discuss music censorship in Zimbabwe. This ses- sion drew on the content of that conference. “Music has held a special place in the lives of

the people of Zimbabwe” said Maxwell, “

liberation fighters used music a lot to uplift the masses morale and to urge people to fight against the colonial settlers.” The government, made up of some of the former liberation fight- ers did not engage with music again until 2001, unt’l they decided to make music themselves.

during

the war to liberate the country, the

Maxwell explained how the government addresses censorship of music. “In 2001, the government put aside some money and said they were going to record music, music to promote their policies. Two ministers were involved. The minister of information, he recorded four albums. Another minister recorded two albums and actually sang on some of these.” The government made more than ten albums themselves. Usually, the government writes the lyrics and then asks popular musicians to record the “government music”. Some of the musi- cians refused. But then the government blacklisted all music that was singing against its poli- cies including any music about human rights and corruption. The government went on to ban foreign music from the radio, along with foreign films from television.

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In Zimbabwe there is only one TV station and four radio stations, all owned by the govern- ment. There is no independent radio. Maxwell explained that the government controls what is on the TV and the radio. As well as albums, the government also produced TV videos. “You open the TV, it’s only the government’s videos playing. You open the radio, all the four stations; it’s only their music playing.” Maxwell shared the results of a small survey he did, which found that one song, selected and approved of by the government, could be heard more than 72 times in one single day on the various TV and radio stations. As Maxwell says, “This is a form of censorship – all the music that doesn’t sing the line of the government is not played. The musicians who decided to record the government music became enemies of the people. They were chased away by people. Others refused. They also had problems. They could not play in certain places. Their music might not be played on air. That is the form of censorship in Zimbabwe.”

Ole shared the story of when the Minister of Information had tried to take over a record company and install himself as the director of the company. The company retaliated by installing an army general as director. “You need a general to fight the government” said Ole, going on to discuss how this does indicate some complexity and powerplay at work behind the scenes. Ole asked about government statements that they had never authorized any cen- sorship. Maxwell explained how the DJs will operate self-censorship – given a choice between playing a record that a government minister has asked for or that of an independent band singing about corruption they fear. They will lose their job if they play an independent band’s music that is critical of the government.

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The conference watched a sequence from the Harare seminar in which Roger Lucey, South African musician, got up to address the censor. In the clip, Roger directed himself angrily at the censor saying how the situation in Zimbabwe reminded him of the South African past. Present in Istanbul, Roger explained how the laws being implemented in Zimbabwe now are virtually identical to those that were created by the white colonizers in the 1960s. These laws were originally crated to ban music that urged people to fight in the liberation war. These songs were banned. The ruling party now, that was liberation army fighting then, used to have their own radio station in Mozambique and people could tune in to listen to it.

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Maxwell explained how these laws have barely been changed and are now instead of being used by white politicians against black musicians are being used by a black government on black musicians. They still aim to stop opposition. In the seminar held in Harare, which Roger attended, he became irate at the similarities between the Zimbabwe censor, and how he presented himself, with the Afrikaans’ censor under apartheid, under which he suffered. ”

“He was aping the old oppressors from South Africa

said Roger, going on to say “the role

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///// 24/25 MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED of the artist is to be a true speaker.
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of the artist is to be a true speaker. What I was hearing here reminded me of apartheid.” Maxwell continued confirming that even some musicians, banned before independence under the white regime continue to be banned under the current government. Thomas Mapfumo is one of these, living in the US in exile. This artist was also banned from entering UK recently.

Simon Broughton and John Baily probed for further information on how the government makes music. Maxwell explained how the government started to make music when the issue over land began. They wrote songs which encouraged people to support the government policies. The approach is quite sophisticated with different music created for different age groups including hip hop, jazz and traditional music. Asked if the ministers themselves are musical Maxwell explained the ministers usually write the lyrics and ask the musicians to play them. They may not be great musicians but they are good marketers, employing marketing techniques which draw on methods of audience analysis and segmentation.

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Another method employed by the government is to hold music galas – there may be more than six of these each year in different places. At these galas, all musicians are expected to sing in praise of the government. Audiences sometimes travel long distances to attend these, such is their popularity. Whilst the “singing ministers” may not be very good, Maxwell says that with enough continuous play even they can become popular. It is often possible to hear children able to sing their songs.

Roger explained a new addendum to the law in which musicians have to register. The addendum means that those who are registered agree not to sing against the government. If the musician agrees this criterion and later breaks it, this gives a reason for them to be imprisoned.

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Daniel Brown asked about new radio stations. A new one was closed but took the case to court. The court said it was illegal to close it but the government stalled the process by saying that further rules were needed before it could open. Maxwell updated the audience that even though this was in 2001, still according to the government the conditions are not in place and still there are no independent radio stations.

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Ole summed up how Mugabe’s clever manipulation of the political situation, playing different cards – the race card, the Tony Blair card, the foreign card arguing that Zimbabwe should not be open to external manipulation enables the establishment of censorship. Maxwell ended with some hope that there is a small opening for foreign films and in particular for gospel music. This is a new avenue open for new musicians. But as Ole said this could also be a

difficult option as it comes with its own pressure from parts of the Christian church, mainly the

Pentecostal Church. Maxwell ended saying “A musician’s experience is still very difficult you sing critical music you will be banned. So now they sing gospel music.”

If

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SESSION 5

SOUTH AFRICA On tour with the enemy”

PANEL

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Roger Lucey, Musician, South Africa Paul Erasmus, Company Director and Former Police Agent, South Africa Michael Drewett, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Rhodes University, South Africa

Moderator Ole Reitov: Programme Officer, Freemuse, Denmark

*

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Ole Reitov introduced this session which brought together one of the most prominent protest singers from South Africa with a former police agent responsible for his censorship and harassment under apartheid. This combination of speakers typifies a Freemuse way of working, which tries to find ways to enable a dialogue between those who are carrying out the censorship as well as those that are censored to enable greater understanding. Ole told the audience how the South African Truth and Reconciliation process brought Roger and Paul together.

As a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Paul came forward and told the public how he had harassed Roger Lucey and spoilt his career. The idea developed to have a meeting between these two men. Michael Drewett, who was carrying out research into the music censorship, became involved in making the film, “Stopping the Music”, which covers their initial meetings.

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Roger Lucey is a musician and journalist who was born in South Africa. He started writing songs and singing in Durban in the 1970’s. He recorded his first album in Johannesburg, but this was banned. His second album was also restricted. During this time security police engaged in covert activity to silence him. After several years of crisis, he started working for an international TV news agency. He has continued writing and producing music since then.

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED /// roger lucey /// paul erasmus
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/// roger lucey
/// paul erasmus

Paul Erasmus was a police officer, field intelligence operative and responsible for general and also covert investigations in South Africa. He “boarded” from South Africa Police in 1993 and participated in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. He was granted partial amnesty in

2002.

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The third speaker, Michael Drewett is a senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Rhodes University in South Africa. Co-editor of ‘Popular Music Censorship in Africa’ (Ashgate 2006), he has written various articles on South African popular music.

Ole talked about how special these men’s experiences have been because they show that “…you are able to talk to your enemy and come forward with the truth.” An excerpt from the film was shown which captures the men’s first meeting in the Hotel Devonshire. Following the film showing, Paul expanded on the contradictions of the censorship process telling how he would confiscate Roger’s music, but actually liked the music himself and used to listen to it at home!

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Ole: “This meeting will not focus on the nasty aspects of censorship which we know included phone tapping, tear gas, stopping concerts. We also know the breadth of the restrictions was vast, for instance Paul had 11000 cases he was responsible for. But rather we would like to hear how the reconciliation experience impacted on your lives.”

Roger: “That first meeting was almost forced. I was aware of the camera, it was quite uncomfortable. But since then we’ve travelled quite a lot together and talked about the process. That is when we got to know each other. We both do not like watching the movie. It’s hard. We’ve gone for a drink sometimes whilst the audience watches it.” For a young

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person like myself at that time to be silenced and then, for 14 years not to know what happened was hard. The anger that I carried with me… my life was destroyed. My marriage broke down. I ended up with a bad drug habit which I had to battle against. I did not play music for six years. Even when I got back to playing, I still had this anger. It was only through this process of getting to know Paul and why he did what he did that I’ve been able to become the person I am and do what I do – one of these things is teaching TV with young people – I need to be free, dynamic and young of spirit for that.” Roger went on to talk about his daughter’s study of the subject and their own getting to know each other afresh recently. He also talked about the leading role that South Africans now take in conflict resolution in other countries including Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Northern Ireland.

Paul: “Where to start. Roger is one of the 11000 files. I don’t suppose I can ever end with this process, 11000 is a long road. This process has many meanings for me. This has been a cathartic process. I also lost my marriage and children. I was physically damaged. I was stabbed, shot. I found out two weeks ago I am going deaf – from a bomb blast. We all got hurt, that is the terrible tragedy. Roger and I are similar people – similar interest, similar sense of humour. But we all got damaged. This raises questions about conflict. If only we’d talked all those years ago where would we be now? Where would Roger be today if I hadn’t destroyed his career? So for me this has been a very cathartic process. My story started before the truth and reconciliation process. I turned on the people who trained me. I feared for my life. They tried to kill me to shut me up. They sent someone, who was a distant cousin who was given instructions to put a bomb under my family’s car to kill my wife and children. That day I learned to hate the people who were my former masters. It took a long time to get over this and to forgive them. This is very difficult. I like to think I have been able to make a difference; that Roger makes a difference; I certainly believe that Freemuse makes a difference. If it makes that difference, it is really worth it.”

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Roger: “We’ve done some presentations at schools and had extraordinary responses. Many young people do not know really what happened, they’re not that interested. But their response to our story is really extraordinary. There’s a real sense that there’s guidance they get from hearing this story. There’s a lot to do still in terms of reconciliation, to bring this incredibly diverse country together. There’s eleven different languages, there’s many cultures. There’s still a lot to do in reconciliation. This type of thing shows it is possible. It’s a short leap of faith into reconciliation.”

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The speakers discussed the sophistication and complexity of the former South African censorship. The authorities employed advertising experts and people from both South Africa and around the world. Paul explained that the process of censorship involved discrediting the ANC abroad by promoting damaging images of their actions. Censorship was also enabled by external agencies and British and US authorities may be implicated in the forthcoming book of his experiences.

At the same time the external world seemed not to understand what was really happening and certainly not the impact on musicians. Roger explained: “In 1976-80 people were not interested in South Africa. When I had this meeting with an American record executive he kept asking about my home sales. I said they don’t exist, I’m banned. It’s not only that I am not played on the radio, Paul confiscated the records. But in America they could not understand that. Surely, he said, there must be some sales. I said you don’t understand the situation. I was still struggling to play. People were too threatened to allow me to play at their venues. The climate of terror and fear in South Africa was tremendous. The change has been miracu- lous. It was so awful, so utterly terrible and so scary.”

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Michael then went on to introduce the Freemuse-sponsored project “Stopping the Music”, a documentary film. To follow up on this project Freemuse further sponsored the production of educational material for South African schoolchildren. The aim was to educate children about what happened in the past and also about the truth and reconciliation process.

Michael introduced the project in which the film of Roger and Paul’s meeting is shown to the school pupils. The students, who were mainly from townships, were asked to discuss questions such as: “What is music censorship? Is censorship ever justifiable?” This was to encourage them to think about whether it is possible or correct to censor music. Both Paul and Roger came down to a school to a music censorship seminar for over one hundred children. They fielded questions, including some difficult ones from the children.

Paul was asked: “Did you choose the career or were you specially selected? Why did you not simply arrest Roger Lucey?” Michael explained how the questions often illustrated that the students did not know how things had worked. Questions to Roger included being asked “When you entered this you knew the consequences, why did you pursue it. How did your family react when you said you had forgiven Paul?” This showed some awareness of the broader context of censorship; it’s not just the performer who is affected. Both were asked by the students if they believed in censorship ever.

At the end of the seminar, when asked to describe music, one child responded, “Music should be like air. It should blow so anyone can feel it, be in the atmosphere, yeh, beautiful music.” Another reflected that, “What I have heard is that forgiveness is the way to go forward.” Michael explained these were the types of messages they wanted to come out of the workshops and that they are shared more broadly.

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The speakers then went on to discuss what now exists as a record of past censorship. Michael explained that some organisations have thrown things away because there is a sense that this was in the past and best forgotten. A lot of proof of what happened has been lost. Information that does exist is difficult and tedious to find. SABC used to keep records of what had been banned each week, but in general the South African archives are in a mess.

However, some information was intentionally destroyed. Paul explained about the files of

secret police. “Towards the end when I was trying to get my family out, on the 2

1990 there was the momentous announcement that Mandela would be released. There was a massive security alert in the inner sanctum of the security system. The internal shredders burnt out with use. 125000 personal files were shredded. Anything that was sensitive stuff that could affect the perceived coming storm was shredded. I think this process is still happening. The national archives are probably under resourced and under staffed. The information that went to the Truth and Reconciliation files were sanitised. In South Africa, like most countries, the skeletons are in the cupboard. There was a war. It was dirty.”

nd

of February

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Ole introduced another angle that there is another type of story being told now. People are coming forward claiming they were involved in the struggle, they actively claim to be heroes but who did not do much, if anything.

Roger: “There’s a South African joke that every white person fought against apartheid and every black was in the struggle. The first time I went to London, the overwhelming feeling from musicians there was that politics and music did not mix. Now many of them have come back and portrayed themselves as having been part of the struggle. In South Africa, whites called blacks kaffirs – one musician asked me, “Are you on the side of the kaffirs?” This guitarist years later talked about how he fought against apartheid. There’s a lot of revisionism going on at a very high level. There’s a bit of a struggle to get a correct and balanced view on who did what. I remember being at a UN concert with black artists. Lots of people talk about being in exile. One talks about this from being in exile since 1976. But actually this artist was returning regularly and playing regularly. It was self imposed exile. He has rewritten his personal history.”

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John Baily posed the question, introducing it by saying, “This is the most extraordinary experience of a conference. I understand much more about the origins of Freemuse. My question is about reconciliation. In the process, how do the different parties deal with the

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myths different groups maintain about the past to be able to maintain an identity in the future?”

Paul: “With difficulty

the speakers said, ‘If you don’t bury the past the past will bury you.’ You can say that when the past is not so relevant, when you have dealt with it. Those that forget the past and the lessons of the past do tend to repeat them. How to deal with them, what comes out must be accurate. We need forums like this where people can talk, not always on a formal basis.“

At Botha’s funeral – I learned something and got some healing. One of

Roger continued, “It is hard to answer because the process is happening right now. Not just about the past but it is also about creating the present. The court in South Africa is making some major decisions. For instance they made decisions recently about gay marriage. That’s an African process.” Daniel Brown asked, “Were there others who followed you? You mentioned that people tried to silence you when you began to spill the beans. Are there others who followed you?”

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Paul replied, “Probably on public record, I had the biggest record. There are those who

applied for amnesty and others who did not. There have been suicides, alcoholism. I see my

former bosses. They look at me in horror – scared I am going to talk about them

because I was able to talk about it. Others could not and did not apply for amnesty.”

I’ve healed,

The speakers reflected on the speed of the transformation so far, but also reminded the audience the process still has a long way to go. If one agent has 11000 cases and some cases run to hundreds of pages each this is chilling. Ole remarked that whilst Roger and Paul are here today and able to talk, who can guarantee this censorship will not happen again.

Roger responded with a hopeful message, “Your question goes to two major events. The first is the Truth and Reconciliation process and the deal that was struck. Those that did not come voluntarily are being prosecuted. There are several trials yet to come. The second issue is about what can prevent repetition in the future. In South Africa it is our [new] constitution. This is a revolutionary constitution in world terms. That constitutional court has never got an issue on the table. This may not seem to feed into this right now but a recent issue has been gay marriage. The majority of the country are against it. The majority of the people also want the death penalty brought back. But now the constitutional court is the highest law in the land and protects people. There are many problems. But already it has come so far from the internecine situation and war in the past. Now people talk and do not go and fight each other.”

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The session which had visibly moved many of the audience ended with Roger singing a song which covers the process South Africa has undergone and his own personal process too.

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I’M ALLRIGHT NOW

MEMORIES HANG LIKE SPIDERS SUSPENDED IN THIN AIR STANGERS FACES FILL MY NIGHTS THE DREAMS GO WILD OUT THERE LIKE A RUNAWAY ON A TINY ISLAND LIKE A RUNAWAY ON A DESERT ISLAND I’M A RUNAWAY ON A DESERT ISLAND

ONCE UPON A TIME I WAS A STRANGER CAUGHT BETWEEN FICTION AND TRUTH AND I SAW A WORLD THAT WAS STRANGER THAN THE REAL WORLD AND TWICE AS UNCOUTH FOR A WHILE I HUNG IN THE BALANCE IN THE A HALF WORLD ILLUSIVE AS TRUTH THERE’S NO REAL WORLD IT’S YOUR OWN WORLD YOU’RE THE REAL WORLD YOU ARE THE REAL WORLD

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ONCE THERE WAS A MAN WHO WAS A STRANGER AND HE RULED THIS LAND WITH AN IRON FIST LIKE A DARK FORCE IN SOME CHILDRENS STORY HE’D HOLD UP THE WORLD AND HE’D INSIST THAT THE WORLD HE MADE WAS THE REAL WORLD AND MILLIONS FOLLOWED LIKE FLIES AND FOR MILLIONS HIS WORLD BECAME THEIR WORLD LIKE WHEN YOU START BELIEVING YOUR OWN LIES IT’S SO EASY TO BELIEVE IT’S SO EASY TO DECEIVE BUT IT’S ALLRIGHT NOW IT’S ALLRIGHT FOR NOW

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AS THE SUN GOES DOWN LIKE THE VANQUISHED IN SOME UNHOLY GAME AND THE MOON CALLS THE LOVERS AND THE MOON CALLS MY NAME AND THE NIGHT BRINGS THE COMFORT AND THE NIGHT BRINGS THE PAIN AND THE STARS WARM MY BODY AND THE STARS CALM MY BRAIN AND THE RIVER FLOWS RIGHT THROUGH ME AND THE RIVER HEALS THE STAIN THAT THE DARKNESS MARKED MY HEART WITH BUT THAT WON’T HAPPEN TO ME AGAIN LIKE A RUNAWAY ON A DESERT ISLAND I WONT GET LOST AGAIN I’M ALLRIGHT NOW I’M OK

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(Lyrics & music by Roger Lucey. Printed with permission from the author)

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///// 32/33 “ SESSION 6 BELARUS “ Hidden Truths - Music, Politics and Censorship in Lukashenko’s
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///// 32/33 “ SESSION 6 BELARUS “ Hidden Truths - Music, Politics and Censorship in Lukashenko’s

SESSION 6

BELARUS Hidden Truths - Music, Politics and Censorship in Lukashenko’s Belarus”

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED

Launch of a new Freemuse report

PANEL

Lemez Lovas, Researcher, UK Maya Medich, Researcher, UK

Introduction: Marie Korpe, Executive Director, Freemuse

*

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We feel as if our hands have been tied, we have been stood on tiptoes, and a noose has been placed around our necks. Apparently we haven’t been hanged yet, but you can’t call it a life

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Open letter of blacklisted musicians, 16 September 2004

th

Freemuse Executive Director, Marie Korpe explained how this open letter started the process that led

Freemuse Executive Director, Marie Korpe explained how this open letter started the process that led to this new Freemuse report being launched at the conference on the state of music and censorship in Belarus, “Hidden Truths; Music, Politics and Censorship in Lukashensko´s Belarus”. Lemez Lovas, a British musician, composer, DJ and journalist and anthropologist Maya Medich travelled first to Poland and then to Belarus to investigate the situation further. They took the stage at the conference to share their reflections and main findings from the work.

Belarus, a country which borders Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia, was one of the most stable during the Soviet Union. Its strategic location as a buffer between east and west presented its people a choice in the post-Soviet era – whether to be more oriented to Russia or the EU. The current President, Lukashenko is seen as being pro-Russia, pro-state run and the opposition is portrayed as being more in favour of the Belarusian language, culture as well as supportive of closer ties with the European Union rather than Russia. Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager, surprisingly for many won power in 1994. Already in 1996 he started to change the constitution which in effect gave him more powers so some would say Belarus is a one man show. Freedom of information and expression became the victims in an increasingly destructive process of political control.

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The state dominates music. A type of music that is most widespread, “popsa” is the only music on state radio stations other than classical music. It is pop-oriented, “sugar-coated” music. But there is still a lot of interest in harder heavy rock and punk. Lemez says that music in Belarus can very roughly be divided into two types, “official” music the state supports usually in Russian and then “unofficial” music identified with the opposition which is usually in Belarusian. Lemez says that many Belarusian singers did not grow up with Belarusian as their first language but have adopted it as a sign of their political stance, i.e. opposition.

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Examining the historical context of the political associations of music making the authors identified two main and mutually reinforcing aspects of music censorship in Belarus today. One is the deliberate and systematic government pressure on unofficial musicians – including “banning” them from official media and imposing severe restrictions on live performance. The other is use of the government’s control of mass media and other resources in promoting official music as a tool of government propaganda in furthering state ideology and loyalty to the leader. The potent combination of these two strategies and the revival of the deeply engrained culture of compliance and fear reminiscent of Soviet times, means that independent music making in Belarus today is an increasingly difficult and risky enterprise.

As in the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004, language and culture are key components in social and political opposition to President Lukashenko, dubbed “the last dictator in Europe” by the US State Department. For the past two years, many Belarusian rock musicians have been unofficially banned from radio and TV, their applications for concert licenses denied and interviews with the state press shelved. The unofficial “blacklist”, which includes virtually the entire independent Belarusian rock scene coincided with a controversial referendum allowing Lukashenko to remain in power, and marked the beginning of a concerted government crackdown against musicians, political opponents and the independent press.

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For musicians, 2004 was a watershed – there was a concert in the capital Minsk to mark Lukashenko’s ten year presidency. It was a protest concert but was allowed by the authorities. However, from the next day a “blacklist” has existed of all those who played at the concert and they have not been played since on state media. This is the point at which censorship became an issue in Belarus. However, this list does not exist in written form but has become known as the “telephone law”. Quoted in the report, one commentator says

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Belarusian

on

confusion

a central

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED /// lemez lovas, maya medich
MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED
/// lemez lovas, maya medich

“I work on a state radio station, where I’m one of the directors. It’s best I don’t say which one. It all started with the concert dedicated to the ten year anniversary of Luka’s rule.

Forty minutes before the end of the concert, the lights went out – the police cut the electricity.

Neurodubel were on the stage, so the crowd sang all their songs a capella.” The

Association of Journalists report that this informal decree, which came into force

4 th

August was directed towards all FM radio stations. This seems to be the turning point

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when official attitudes towards politically active musicians changed to become one of no

tolerance. Many shows were cancelled. The oral nature of the blacklist has led to as to who is on it.

2004 marked the beginning of a more deliberate use of music as a political tool in the ideological battle between the authorities and the opposition, clearly dividing Belarusian

musicians into pro-government “official” and pro-democrat “unofficial” camps. Now that rock

and Belarusian language music in particular have come under fire, it has become

rallying point for the beleaguered political opposition. The regime’s fear of music as potential field for revolution and unrest, as in Ukraine in 2004, has led to restrictive broadcasting legislation and the reinvigoration of a huge bureaucratic system of censorship that is pushing

independent musicians back into the role of Soviet era dissidents.

Musicians talk about the “official” and “unofficial music”. The official music includes pop, variety music and is means by which a musician can make a living, playing openly. “Unofficial” musicians cannot easily make a living as the whole system of recording, distribution, concert space and promotion is denied to them. Thus economic pressure is applied as a form of censorship.

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There are legal restrictions placed on musicians. A complicated bureaucracy allows for a number of legal pretexts to stop musicians from performing. A concert needs a permit. There is often last minute revoking of licences with often flimsy reasons. A special committee of the Ministry of Culture may also review a concert for its “artistic merit”. Finally, finding concert space can be difficult. Nearly all large concert halls are state owned and their staff employed directly by the state. Most will be reluctant to risk their jobs giving “black-listed” musicians the chance to play.

Belarus does not have tales of musicians being arrested or beaten though this has happened

Belarus does not have tales of musicians being arrested or beaten though this has happened to journalists and others. They do not operate in fear of their lives. Worryingly, there is now a move towards legislation with new defamation laws which include a potential sentence of five years imprisonment for insulting the President, and even two years if the insult is made abroad. Belarus sees a high degree of self censorship.

But at the same time, musicians find ways around the restrictions. A key way is the internet – this culture is huge. Musicians put their music online for free. They also hold concerts abroad, for instance in Poland which has a large Belarusian community. Small clubs in towns in Belarus also host “unofficial” music – they may only operate for six or twelve months, but when one closes another opens. They will put on small gigs, pretending it is for a birthday or poetry reading or some other event. Also, officially, those under the age of eighteen cannot be arrested and they play a lot.

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Although rock has grabbed most of the international headlines, the nascent independent Belarusian hip-hop scene is beginning to feature more prominently in civil actions supporting the opposition. Krou, a rapper considered one of the main figures in the local hip-hop scene is one of the first to perform entirely in Belarusian. He says he formed his band CPB as a reaction to the state repression of the independent media, “I rap for people who maybe don’t have proper access to information, or to independent newspapers which these days you can only find on the internet. Not everybody had access to this.”

Lemez summed up saying that Belarus is at a critical juncture. The free media has gone, journalists have been arrested or forced to leave. The right to assembly has been limited to a single silent line procession in which protesters are allowed to hold portraits. Freedom of movement is still allowed. The internet is usually quite free.

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Musicians do face restrictions but they are not at a stage where they fear for their lives. Musicians still have some freedom. They feel western press and public could be more constructive. The situation in Belarus has meant that there has been increased attention and collaboration with Belarus musicians.

The musicians dislike oversimplifications of their situation and they see hope for the future. Quoted in the report, one musician, Alexander Kulinkovich says, “As for us musicians, no one talks about leaving. In terms of being a Belarusian music scene, all together, I feel that. We are colleagues on stage and off stage we support each other. We respect each other and try to stick together. I’m a fatalist; I’ve never been depressed thinking that it’s all in vain, that nothing will change. Hope will be the last thing to die.”

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SESSION 7

TURKEY And the ‘beat’ goes on - censorship in Turkey”

1

*

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“Turkey’s history is a history of censorship” says Bülent Forta, producer and Director of the Turkish Phonographic Industry Society (MÜYAP), who himself spent long years in prison after the military coup in 1980, due to his political activities. There is a long list of poets, authors, musicians and filmmakers, not only censored but also imprisoned and exiled because of their dissonance with state policies under different political regimes. Forta says this is as a result of ethnic differences, cultural diversities and the complexity of Turkey’s condition, but mostly it is due to the intolerance of the Establishment, that is inclined to try to assimilate every difference to its own vision of society. There is some progress in Turkey as TRT’s (Turkish Radio and Television) and the Ministry of Culture’s influence has been reduced, but serious actual restrictions are ongoing.

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Turkey’s experience of censorship is an interesting case. Censorship has been administered by the institutions of the state with the aim to establish democracy since its foundation in 1923. Censorship comes in all forms and is based on all kinds of reasons. Musicians and artists have been censored for being culturally, aesthetically, politically and religiously inappropriate. Repression comes from non-state actors as well, like conservative communities and political groups that act in accordance with traditionalist or nationalist prejudices, as ethnomusicologist Dr. Feza Tansu¤ indicates.

The roots of censorship can be traced to the founding ideology of the republic and in teachings of the ideologist Ziya Gökalp on ‘higher Turkish Culture’. According to Gökalp, the music of the new republic had to be the music of a new civilization, as the ponderous structure of Ottoman ‘palace music’ didn’t reflect the joyous and dynamic nature of the Turk. Commissions were formed to travel across the country to compile folk songs in the 1930’s. The aim was to transform the folk music into polyphonic western forms and create a new blend. But the transformation process was harsh; the efforts to raise the Turkish music to its

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1 The session organized by fianar Yurdatapan was introduced by Dr. Feza Tansu¤ followed by - for the first time ever - personal testimonies by Ali Kocatepe, Atilla Özdemiro¤lu, Ayfer Düzdafl (Venge Sodiri), Bülent Forta, Cihan Keflkek (Grup Yorum), Elif Kaya (MKM), Ferhat Tunç, Gülten Kaya, Hakk› Bulut, Hasan Salt›k, Gözde Cengizel (‹stanbul Uni.), Ali R›za Binbo¤a, Selda Ba¤can, Selda Yefliltepe (Voice of Anatolia) and Vedat Türkali.

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED /// ali r›za binbo¤a
MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED
/// ali r›za binbo¤a

place among ‘universal music’ even led to an ‘Oriental/Eastern music ban’ (folksong ban) on Turkish radio between 1934-36. This was the first wave of an enforcement that became almost a tradition in administration.

Securing the consent of the public was not part of this state process. The public responded to restrictions on what they could listen to on Turkish radio by listening to music from other countries. During the ban, most of the radios were switched to Egyptian programmes. This and the popularity of Egyptian films opened a whole new vein in popular music, which paved the way for a different blend that took the name ‘arabesque’ in the 1960’s. Often called “music of slums”, “minibus music” or “music of sorrow”, arabesque could never make its peace with cultural politics of Turkey. It was banned not only on state broadcasting but in public transport vehicles like the minibuses. Hakk› Bulut is one of those artists. He already had 30 albums when he was invited to a congress held to discuss the negative effects of arabesque on society in 1988. He was asked to prepare an example of ‘sorrowless arabesque’ for TRT and he gave one of his older songs with minor changes. It was broadcast once and to this day, after 54 albums, the doors of TRT are still closed to him.

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The cultural politics are discussed less today, mainly because genres like arabesque can find their way onto private channels, but it led to strange incidents in the 1970’s. When Turkey participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1975, although the public jury elected Ali R›za Binbo¤a’s ‘Yar›nlar Bizim’ (Tomorrow is Ours) it was found ‘not European enough’ for representing Turkey by the ‘élite’ jury of TRT. After a controversial decision, 17 year old Semiha Yank› was chosen. She then went on to come last in the final contest in Luxembourg whilst Binbo¤a’s song became a huge success in Turkey. But because CHP (Republican People’s Party) used the song in its public meetings, when the right wing coalition known as the Nationalist Front came in power, Binbo¤a was banned.

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Once the song was used by the National Front, despite being without the artist’s permission, it was labelled as being dangerous for national security and during the second half of 1970’s, all his songs were banned on state broadcasts. The reasons given ranged from being that the “lyrics are incoherent”, “empty of meaning” or that they “lack artistic direction.” As a reaction, he says, he wrote songs to two lyrics of Âfl›k Veysel, a famous folk poet. Failing the audition once again, he informed the commission that the lyrics belonged to Veysel and got the answer, “We didn’t take notice and thought they were written by you.” Another odd decision came when he entered the Turkish competition for the Eurovision Song contest in 1977 with

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the song ‘Bahar›m Sensin’ (You Are My Spring). Banning Binbo¤a once again, the commission said they could not understand which spring he was waiting for.

Turkey’s Eurovision adventure led to another peculiar debate in 1977. Atilla Özdemiro¤lu, a famous composer, participated in the Turkish competition with ‘‹nsan›z Biz’ (We Are Human) that he co-wrote with fianar Yurdatapan. The line “We are the most intelligent, civilized animals” caused arguments culminating in a debate about the theories of Darwin, and whether human beings were animals or not. One of the directors of TRT Board said, “I cleanse myself of being an animal” and the song was disqualified. It only returned to the competition due to a decision of the Council of State and came in at second place but TRT refused to play the song on the radios and TV’s. Özdemiro¤lu, relying on the council’s decision, demanded his song to be broadcast like the others. The director general of TRT called him to his office, and in his presence, instructed the radio of Kars (a small city in the Armenian border of Turkey) to play the song just once at 6:30 in the morning. The council order was thus administered and the song was never played again.

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Atilla Özdemiro¤lu faced TRT’s supervisory boards once again in 1982. His song ‘Firuze’ was featured on an album of Sezen Aksu, one of the most famous singers in Turkey. However, the Supervisory Board for Light-Western Music refused to allow the song to be broadcast because it did not fit the norms of ‘light-western music’ (the term used for ‘western pop music’). Then the song was sent to the Supervisory Board for Art Music, and they decided that the song did not fit the norms of ‘art music’, either. It took a long time for the song to be broadcast. Today, the song is reported to be the most demanded song by the radio listeners.

Some stories make people smile today, but most of the censorship cases ruined and continue to ruin many lives. fianar Yurdatapan, Özdemiro¤lu’s songwriting partner in the 1970’s had to leave Turkey after the military coup in 1980, with his then-wife Melike Demira¤. Demira¤ who was also a singer and actor, famous for her main roles in two movies of Y›lmaz Güney Arkadafl (Friend, 1974) and Sürü (The Herd, 1978). When the couple was in Germany, they were denaturalized by the military administration for propagandizing against Turkey and had to live in exile for 12 years. Two albums recorded in Germany, ‘‹stanbul’da Olmak’ (Being in Istanbul) and ‘Anadolu’ (Anatolia) were banned by the Turkish Cabinet, although they were very popular. They returned to Turkey in 1992. Now, Yurdatapan is the director of the Association for Freedom of Expression.

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Ahmet Kaya (1957-2000) was another artist to go into exile. His story, told at the session by his widow Gülten Kaya, is one of the most comprehensive examples of bans and censorship. It includes repression based on political and ethnic reasons, as well as mass bias, prejudice and condemnation. Official sales of his albums exceeded 20 million (it should be multiplied by five, to get an estimated number of unoffical, pirate and bootlegged sales). He was one of the strongest opposition artists of his time and also one of the most popular.

Having been in prison several times before and after 1980, censorship of Kaya’s musical career started in 1985 because some of his lyrics were believed to be addressing socialism. His first album’s distribution was stopped. Even after this unfortunate start he continued to make records which dealt with problems of Turkey. In 1986, he became the voice of thousands held in prisons because of their political thoughts. In 1987, he sang about the democrats who were silenced after the coup. He sang about the ongoing war in south-east of Turkey in his 1994 album and about the sit-ins of the mothers whose children were lost in custody (Saturday Mothers) in 1996. With his albums and concerts, he faced most dubious prohibitions. While an album was in the markets in ‹stanbul, it would be banned elsewhere, often with arbitrary decisions of governors or the police. Permission for concerts would differ according to the region; sometimes before concerts, he would be handed a list of banned songs, even including the instrumental ones.

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Yet, after 17 albums and one soundtrack, widely popular and beloved Ahmet Kaya’s darkest

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED /// selda ba¤can
MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED
/// selda ba¤can

hours began in 1999 after his speech while receiving the Magazine Journalists Association’s award for “Artist of the Year.” Saying he was going to sing a Kurdish song in his next album and he believed that the song and its video clip would be broadcast, Kaya was booed, had knives and forks thrown at him and was taken down from the stage by the angry audience of ‘élite’ journalists and artists. Having been proclaimed a traitor, an almost national condemna- tion campaign was started against him, orchestrated by the mass media. Almost overnight his music disappeared from the TV and radio stations broadcasts. Isolated and dealing with offi- cial and unofficial accusations, he had to leave the country. He died of a heart attack one year later, in Paris. He was 43.

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Although officially permitted, his name and music is still a sort of a taboo today. His listeners and fans are harassed. When the movie with Ahmet Kaya’s music is shown on TV, the part where his voice is heard is still censored. In 2005, when Niran Ünsal, a younger singer, sang one of his songs on TRT, it was stopped and another of her songs was played instead. Even the 2002 tribute album, made by famous musicians can hardly be heard on State controlled radio stations.

Singer Selda Ba¤can’s career was interrupted with continuous bans and trials too. Her first two singles released in July 1971 included two folk songs about prison which got many requests from the listeners. It was the year the military got a major role in politics for the second time in Turkey’s history and many activists were imprisoned. Ba¤can’s songs were deemed unfavourable and began an unofficial ban that became a permanent regulation after 1980. After the coup, she was accused of demonstrating against the military administration abroad, although she hadn’t left the country. She went in and out of court houses for thirty months and finally found innocent. While the trial was going on, she was arrested for a second time for an unauthorized cassette which included her recordings. She defended herself by saying that while the compositions belonged to her; the lyrics belonged to well-known poets of Turkey, whose books could be easily found in every bookstore. She was arrested and tried for another thirty months. In 1984 she was invited to the police station because of another unauthorized recording of a folksong that was categorised as a communist song, based on an expert report by a professor. The case was later dropped but it took her seven years to get her passport back. In 1988, her self-produced album’s distribution was blocked, no clear reason was given. It took her another five years to be able put it on the market and she had financial difficulties during that time. TRT finally lifted the ban on her songs in 1992, after a mainstream newspaper reported she was preparing to sue the company. She now continues

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her musical career “by selling the very same albums and singing the very same songs.” Yet, Grup Yorum are less lucky than Ba¤can. Their story shows how difficult it is to overcome unauthorized repression even after the laws have been loosened in the past few years. Inspired by Inti Illimani of Chile and Ruhi Su, the group has shown up at almost every protest event since its formation in 1985. “Because of our political opinions we were subject to countless concert bans, custodies, arrests and tortures” says Cihan Keflkek, on behalf of the group. “Our albums were banned, DJ’s lost their jobs and radios were silenced when they played our songs, venue owners were threatened, fans were arrested.” Some sources count up to 400 filed suits. Due to various events the group has changed more than 60 members throughout their career. Out of 10 current members, only 8 can perform as one member is in prison while another is living in exile.

Starting from their first arrest in 1988, when they sang a Kurdish folksong in ‹stanbul, the band has encountered some major obstructions. A concert in Mersin was banned and in the same year the group and the audience were beaten and the band taken into custody. In 1991, a truck carrying their latest album was stopped by the police in Diyarbak›r, the boxes were shot at. In 1993, a concert in Northern Cyprus was blocked, many among the audience were taken into custody and were deported. Ortaköy Cultural Center, the group’s gathering point for performances was closed by the police in 1999 before a concert; the group members and 42 audience members were taken into custody. Their 2001 and 2006 albums were banned. While the group is continuing to perform, the concerts in Zonguldak, Trabzon and two concerts in ‹zmir were blocked as late as 2006.

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Venge Sodiri is another group facing similar problems. When they showed up at the 1998 convention of HADEP (People’s Democracy Party) in response to an invitation, the police confiscated their ID’s, saying there was no concert on the convention agenda. DGM (State Security Court) started legal proceedings against them, citing the very songs they did not sing as a cause for litigation. They were arrested after the first hearing and were released eight months later, when the police records were analysed.

Ferhat Tunç has always been under pressure too, mainly because he sings at least one song

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been under pressure too, mainly because he sings at least one song MUSIC WILL NOT BE
MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED
MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED
been under pressure too, mainly because he sings at least one song MUSIC WILL NOT BE

in Kurdish in his concerts. After he sang a song in Kurdish in ‹stanbul at the end of the 1980’s a newspaper gave the headline “Separatism at the Concert”, and arrests after every concert became routine. In 2003, he was arrested after a concert in Do¤ubeyaz›t, a county in eastern Turkey. The reason was that his salute “Tekrardan merhaba” (Hello again) was reported as “PKK merhaba” (Hello PKK) by the police. He was under arrest for 12 days. At the court, he defended himself using video recordings of the concert but he was still convicted. The case was taken to European Court of Human Rights. During that time he was tried and convicted again, this time because he talked during a concert in Ayd›n. “The permission was for music, not for speech” wrote the official report. In 2004, at a concert in Bingöl, he was handed a list of songs he should not play at the concert. The list consisted of 144 songs, all his repertoire. He was a part of a delegation, formed to bring back a soldier who was captured by PKK last year, and now he’s being tried for a potential six years jail sentence for “terrorist organisation propaganda”. He is also being tried for another four and a half years according to Article no. 301 2 of Turkish Criminal Code because of his newspaper articles.

“We are struggling with lawful restrictions and prejudices” said Elif Kaya of Mesopotamia Cultural Center (MKM). According to her, music in the Kurdish language is still facing big problems today. The distribution of 24 albums was stopped in 2005. “The reason for this is the authorities’ negative approach to everything in Kurdish. They think that it must be unfavourable if something is in Kurdish. They don’t even bother to translate the words to understand; most probably they don’t want to be seen to be taking it seriously.” As a result, even a Halay song (a kind of folk dance) can be seen as a call for an uprising.

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Lawful restrictions and prejudices affect companies and the media too. Kalan Müzik is a record company that has interests in the diverse languages, religions and cultures that have lived in Anatolia. Their detailed work on ethnic music won them an award from the Prince Claus Foundation of Netherlands in 2003. Predictably, these interests often clashed with the politics of the Establishment. A lot of suits were filed against the company because of the work it has produced, most notably for Grup Yorum and albums by other protest music groups. Some of the cases as summarized by the company’s founder Hasan Salt›k are as follows: In 2001, the company’s field of activity was conceived as “provocation against F-Type prisons” 3 and “propaganda for terrorist organizations” by Ministry of Trade and Industry because of a Grup Yorum song. Another Grup Yorum album resulted in them being sued for “acting against public order and national security.” In 2002, an album of the group Özgürlük Türküsü, which received a licence from Ministry of Culture and published 10 years ago was taken to court because of the word “Kürdistan” in one of the songs. The company was penalised with liquidation but the verdict was converted to a warning after public pressure.

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2 The controversial Article 301 has been described by Amnesty International as “a direct threat to freedom of expression, as

enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in Article 10 of the European

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)”. Article 301 states that:

1. Public denigration of Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be

punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.

2.

military or security structures shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.

3. In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country the

punishment shall be increased by one third.

4. Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.

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3 Human Rights Watch in 2001 reported that at “the four F-type prisons that are currently in operation – at Edirne, Kand›ra,

Sincan, and Tekirda¤ – prisoners may leave their cells only once a week if a member of their immediate family visits. Otherwise,

they are held permanently either in single-person or three-person cells in what has been termed “small group isolation.” These new cell-based facilities are a stark contrast to the large ward-based system that is typical in older Turkish prisons. A wide range of medical studies indicate that confinement in solitary or small group isolation can be physically and mentally damaging. Impaired vision and hearing, hallucinations, tinnitus, weakening of the immune system, amenorrhea, premature menopause, depression, anxiety, and aggressive behaviour are among the effects documented in studies of prisoners, volunteers, and animals. In the Turkish context, concerns about the direct effects of isolation are augmented by a suspicion that the closed environment of an isolation unit may facilitate torture, ill-treatment, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading abuses”.

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In 2005, an album by Aynur was collected from the market by an order of the High Criminal Court in Diyarbak›r, because it invited Kurdish girls to fight in the mountains. All of these cases were dropped and the bans were lifted when the decisions were taken to court.

Anadolu’nun Sesi Radyosu (Voice of Anatolia Radio) has been on air since 1999. Since its foundation, it received lots of warnings and they were closed down for months on several occasions for instance for mentioning the protests against Type-F Prisons, death fasts, isolationism in prisons, a programme on closure of Alevi and Bektashi Cultural Center and for a report on the Kurdish problem. After every closure, the directors of the radio were tried for either being a member of an illegal organization or provocating people and threatening public order making broadcasts based on class, ethnic, religious, sect and regional differences. While some of the cases were dismissed, some still continue, and the radio faces a licence cancellation.

During the cold war period, communism was the biggest threat and today it seems like the threat is Kurdish language. In a country that has a tradition of censorship, the authorities qualify themselves as an agency for banning anything that they think harmful. Gözde Cengizel, a student and a member of The Law Department Music and Fine Arts Club, tells how Istanbul University administers repressive policies against all cultural activities and student clubs. “We find our own instruments and rehearse despite all obstacles” she says. “But then we cannot find a suitable place to share our music because it is forbidden to organize festivals or concerts within university borders. People cannot gather and watch movies or plays. The clubs are kept under threat of closure.”

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In a more recent development, what happened to Ali Kocatepe provides a new angle on censorship cases in Turkey. Showing up for his scheduled concert for celebrating his 41 year in music on 15 August 2006, the singer/songwriter, his crew and guest artists were kept at the door of Rumeli Hisar›, an historic fortress, a museum and a concert venue. The director of the museum claimed the venue’s fee were not paid by the organiser and refused to let the crew in even after calls from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. After some hours, they were finally allowed in and the concert started two hours late. The next day, the director who is an advo- cate of the attempts to turn the fortress into a mosque, was reported to have said, “rotarians, masons and the Jews cannot step into this holy place.”

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Ruhi Su (1912-1985) was the first classic example of politics-inspired bans in Turkey. Accepted as the man who taught the intellectuals to listen to folksong, he sang as a bass-baritone with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra and State Opera as early as 1935, and he played a role in the foundation of the Turkish Opera. In 1952, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison, because of socialist beliefs. He continued his career with the TRT in the 1960’s collecting anonymous folksongs, filing them and singing them in his programme. When he was fired because of a politically unfavourable folksong, he went on compiling folksongs individually, recorded albums and formed a choir for concert performances. During the military administration after 1980, he was denied permission to leave the country for medical treatment. When he died in 1985, his funeral turned into the first mass protest event of the era. “Censorship is a disgrace to human culture” says Vedat Türkali, the writer who shared the same “path, ideals and music” and also five years in prison with Ruhi Su in the Fifties. He talks about how a documentary film about Âfl›k Veysel was banned because of the voice of Ruhi Su. When Ruhi Su complained to a commanding officer saying there was nothing communist about Âfl›k Veysel, the officer’s response was “communism is in your voice.”

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Censorship obstructs the ways to

utilize human creativity and we should

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fight itTürkali says

to defend is to attack.

and the best way

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///// 44/45 SESSION 8 CHINA “Singing under the Red Flag” SPEAKERS MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED

SESSION 8

CHINA “Singing under the Red Flag”

SPEAKERS

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Jeroen de Kloet, Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands / Kaiser Abdurusul, PhD Student, University of Stockholm, Sweden, East Turkestan / China

In Memoriam Kurash Sultan, Exiled Uighur musician from East Turkestan/China

Sultan, Exiled Uighur musician from East Turkestan/China MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED Supergirl Li Yuchun was

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Supergirl Li Yuchun was the winner of China’s first pop idol competition, said to be the first democratic election in China! Supergirl swiftly became a big hit, as well as a gay icon some say due to her androgynous look. Stories circulated that people even sold their blood for money for her concert tickets. The government gave this as one reason in support of their choice to ban Supergirl. Now she is not allowed to appear in the mainstream media. Jeroen de Kloet, researcher on the globalisation of popular culture particularly in China, opened with this example in his presentation which aimed to demonstrate that censorship is more complex in China than often perceived in the West and indeed the West is often and increasingly complicit in it. Whilst there are instances of censorship, Chinese control has loosened significantly over the past ten years.

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For instance in another example, Jeroen provided all was not what at first it may seem. The case was of Wang Xiaofent (Massage Milk), a former rocker turned journalist and web- blogger, who writes text that is very provocative and challenges the authorities. In 2006 Wang posted a sign on his website for a few days saying, “Due to unavoidable reasons with which everyone is familiar, this blog is temporarily closed.” The Western media quickly picked up on this situation and publicised it, criticising Chinese censorship and assuming the Chinese authorities were to blame. The next day Wang put the site back up saying the notice was actually a hoax says Jeroen, implying that he wanted to challenge Western assumptions about the situation in China.

There are differences between various parts of China – some groups not allowed to perform in Beijing, may be allowed in Kunming. Jeroen asserted, arguing against sweeping generalisations of China, that therefore “China does not exist, there are many Chinas.” However, some issues are clearly sensitive in China and attract the censor’s attention. First and foremost it is sexuality, secondly politics including ethnic nationalism, thirdly history and lastly, crowds. The authorities are concerned about crowds, they know the power of crowds.

A number of examples demonstrated the contradictions in Chinese censorship and its

complexity. For instance, the Hong Kong hip-hop collective, “Lazy Motherfucker” which uses

a lot of bad language is allowed to perform in Hong Kong but not mainland China. Amei, a

pop star from Taiwan was allowed to perform until she sang a song in support of the democratic party of Taiwan. Another artist was banned after dancing on the piano – this was to be deemed inappropriate behaviour. Others have been banned for sexual references and others for political content of their material. There are indeed cases of censorship but it is not very consistent. Bands also self-censor at times, for instance a Shanghai band usually opened its concerts with a song to commemorate June 4th, when the Tiananmen Square protests and killings took place, but in their performances in Shanghai did not.

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Musicians like to play around with the censors to some extent, sometimes manipulating their lyrics, playing with words that sound similar. For example, a band might change the word “sing” (meaning sex) in the printed lyrics of words which will be checked by the censors, to the similar sounding “zin” which means heart. In the live performances the performers use the words “sing” (sex). The bands fool the censors. Bands also find ways around the restrictions. The black market is an important outlet. Many banned CDs are available on the black market.

Bands also know they experience fewer restrictions when they play in small venues, these do not attract the censors so much who are more concerned with crowds. Even this is changing. Jeroen presented the example of the Midi festival, a Chinese Woodstock with many alternative bands playing, which takes place for three days in Beijing and is a large event.

Foreigners are also subject to some scrutiny. For instance, Britney Spears was allowed to play

in

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China but on the condition that the censors could check her wardrobe before playing!

Jeroen went on to discuss the point that censorship can be productive. Quoting Liang Wei from the band 69 who said, “Before we released it we expected problems. We hoped we would get problems. You know why? Because if we had problems, we would get famous. Everybody would know it, “Oh this band’s got problems, what’s the problem? Let’s buy it!” You know what I mean. We hoped but nothing happened and we were disappointed.” Censorship can give a band a market value and lead to the production of art. Jeroen showed artwork by Mona Hatoun which depicts censorship – it has become a subject of art itself.

Jeroen went on to discuss the western involvement in the censorship process. Globalisation, the coming of the Olympic Games and China’s entry into the WTO, has resulted in other actors such as record companies coming into the process. Some record companies choose not to release certain records because they believe they are too sensitive. The state is only one of the actors involved in censorship. The most blatant culprit is Google. An example is that when you google June 4th in China, Google presents holiday photographs. The same search in other countries produces images of the Tiananmen protest and killings. The internet

is a domain that both censors and provides a means to circumvent censorship.

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The second speaker was Kaiser Abdurusul Uyghuroghlu who was born in East Turkestan (Xinjiang), in Kashgar-Atush city but today is based in Sweden, where he is a PhD student at Stockholm University’s Oriental Department. Kaiser introduced his memorial to the exiled Uighur leader and prominent musician, Kurash Sultan, with some information about the Uighur people. Speaking movingly, he explained that they are a people, a nation with a long history and rich culture. Since the communist invasion in 1949 they have been part of China.

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The Uighur ethnic origin is Turkic. Kurash Sultan was supposed to be at the Conference but tragically passed away in October, 2006.

Kaiser reflected on censorship. Uighur culture is very rich and also very old. It has been subject to censorship from a variety of occupying empires over the ages but it has always survived. Even when Uighur adopted Islam, the Uighur approach is to an Islam that allowed singing, dancing and music.

After 1949 Chinese authorities said that the Uighur culture is old and must be updated. Kaiser says, “But that is not right. They are destroying our music by saying we must make modern music. Some guys practice pop music – but the text has to be checked by Chinese authorities. If the authorities do not allow you to publish your text you cannot produce your music. This is the life of the musician in our country.”

Kurash Sultan (1959 – 2006)

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Kurash Sultan, exiled leader of the Uighur people was a famous singer, composer, poet, historian and freedom fighter. He wrote and sang many sounds and poems on the freedom of his homeland. Many of these were banned by the Chinese authorities so he fled the country and is now buried in Sweden.

He was originally a music teacher and went on to work as director of an art magazine. In 1987 he put together a music ensemble and for the next five years presented music. More than six million people attended his concerts. He won prizes. The Uighur population is only nine million people but he sold 16 million copies of his cassettes “Reflection: Sorrow, gentle water”.

Kurash Sultan went to Central Asia in the mid-90s. Following the release of his album, “Wake up Turkestan”, released in Turkey, he and his group were arrested in Kyrgyzstan in 1998. After UN intervention he was released but then lived in exile. He was recently elected leader of the World Uighur Congress, a government in exile. He had

also started on a five year project to collect Uighur folk music from

its two and a half thousand year history.

loss to the Uighur people but also the musical world.

Kaiser said his death is a

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SESSION 9

WEST AFRICA Africa wants to be free”

PANEL

Fadal Dey, Singer, Ivory Coast Fabrice Tarrit, Secretary General, Survie, France

Moderator Daniel Brown: Journalist, Vice-chair of Freemuse

“There is no-one more deaf than the person who refuses to hear”, Fadal Dey

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This session opened with the Ivory Coast singer Fadal Dey moving on stage, arms in the air singing “Bad governor”, a haunting song which refers to the government holding onto power and rejecting the democratic choices made by the people. Daniel Brown went on to interview the two speakers exploring issues around censorship of music in West Africa as well as Fadal Dey’s own experience in the Ivory Coast. The interview with Fabrice Tarrit also covered the role of France and the potential of a French non-governmental organisation to address censorship.

Fadal Dey is a singer and reggae musician. He moved to the capital Abidjan in 1985. In 1997 he released the album ‘Religion’ which sold more than 100,000 copies in his home country. In 1999 he recorded an album inspired by the Mande roots culture, entitled ‘Jahsso’, which sold over 150,000 copies. In the same year, he established a production company and the orchestra Les Mande Roots which performed at festivals for audiences of tens of thousands and toured in USA twice, as well as producing more albums.

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Fadal’s music has been banned not only in Ivory Coast but also Togo and Guinea. This underlies how the countries are inter-linked. Fadal said “[Censorship] is a subject we fight against constantly. Freedom is something that we cannot fully enjoy. Our communication has been broken… Like everywhere in the world, music is the way through which artists convey their messages. Usually the artist is a kind of educator. He creates a consciousness and puts forward the culture of the country. In Africa, musicians are often exploited. The musician cannot survive… Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of human beings. It represents

more than our right for a musician, it is his whole life. Freedom of expression guarantees artistic creation and allows the artist to open up. Unfortunately we are not always in the lucky position. The government oppresses us.”

Fadal outlined some of the difficulties facing musicians in Ivory Coast. These include the economic constraints with for instance the government taxing the musician but providing no policy to safeguard music in return. The intellectual property rights of Ivory Coast musicians are not protected or upheld by the state. Fadal gave some examples of musicians who were subject to aggression including beating, exile and even murder. For instance Alpha Blondy, who he described as the king of reggae, wrote and sang a song called “I don’t like the President”. He was attacked; his house ransacked and is now in exile in Paris. His song called “Leave the Power” was banned from TV broadcast. Fadal explained how when state TV prohibits a song, radio stations also exert an automatic self-censorship. They are afraid they will experience aggression if they play these songs.

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Fadal gave some background to Ivory Coast censorship. After the first President of Ivory Coast died others came to power who created a term called “Ivoryism”. This divided the country with some people being considered to be from Ivory Coast and others considered foreigners. Fadal said “Ivoryism was something that I had the cheek to criticize when I said that this way of creating the state was something we should not accept.” The subjects which are most taboo are about political control, in particular the regional administration of each section of Ivory Coast. After these comments some of Fadal’s music was banned. Politicians often use music in their campaigns, then when elected they see musicians as their enemy, says Fadal.

Fadal described the way that musicians in Ivory Coast self-censor. He said they know their family may be harmed through their songs so they censor themselves. “Instead of combating society this is the attitude they adopt.”

Turning to Fabrice Tarrit, Daniel asked for more information on the NGO Survie. Fabrice is the Chief Executive of French NGO Survie – an NGO which highlights political hurdles to development. The NGO had led a three-year campaign against French government support to African Dictators. Many African artists (most of them rappers and reggae musicians like Tiken Jah Fakoly, Didier Awadi, Tata Pound) have participated in this campaign, helping Survie to record and release a compilation CD entitled ‘Africa wants to be free’. A second compilation album, ‘Let’s Decolonize’, is on its way.

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The organisation started twenty years ago when a number of French politicians began to consider the French role in the irregularities in African elections. Survie was created to build awareness of the African situation in France where some of the facts of French involvement in African corruption are little known. Fabrice said that there was media silence for a long time but that it was from musicians that the first support and interest came. Musicians were able to talk about these issues in their music. An important element of much of the music he said is that they actually name the individuals involved in corruption. For instance, one of the songs by a French reggae artist is called “Trio” and names the French multi-nationals involved in corruption in Africa. Others name the individual politicians.

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Survie also promotes little heard music in France. For instance, a rap group called Tata Peinti from Mali have interesting unusual lyrics in which they talk about social issues such as the privatisation of public services, water and railroads. They also target corrupt politicians and take up issues which are taboo in Mali. They have found themselves subject to censorship.

Another role of Survie has been to bring together French and African musicians and to build bridges between the two communities. Fabrice said it is important to show that there are people in Africa fighting against corruption.

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Survie also has a role in heritage. For instance, recent French legislation was passed that said that school books must provide information about the positive impact of colonialisation. Rappers in France have now taken up this issue. In response to this Survie will also be involved in building French awareness of the reality of colonialisation and current situation in Africa not just the aspects the government promotes as positive. One activity of Survie will be in February 2007 at an African-French summit which will bring together politicians, journalists and activists. Survie will organise concerts similar to ones they organised earlier which denounced dictatorships and colonialisation in Africa.

In closing, asked about the gentleness of the music he sang given the complexity of the issue it is addressing, Fadal answered “I have to say by smiling you can get anything. Even if you are to swear at your enemy you have to smile. This is why my songs can last forever. At times you may need to be aggressive but also kind. When you fight against violence you must do it softly.”

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SESSION 10

THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

All that is banned is desired”

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PANEL

Thomas Burkhalter, Ethnomusicologist, Switzerland Jason Carter, Musician, Producer, UK/Finland Ourrad Rabah, Rapper, Algeria

Moderators Layla Al-Zubaidi, Anthropologist, Lebanon Ole Reitov, Programme Officer, Freemuse

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*

The Middle East – here, it refers to the area that stretches from Beirut to Casablanca and incorporates the Arab peninsula – is home to a large variety of cultures and histories. But it also shares a few salient characteristics. One is that music and poetry are the most popular art forms and widely loved. This extends to the musicians and poets of today and yesterday, who continue to be revered and recited. One only has to think of Egypt, where three decades after the death of its legendary singer Om Kalthoum, there are still radio stations entirely dedicated to her music. The other feature common throughout the Middle East is less positive; there is an effective ban on challenges directed at political power and moral values, particularly those that have evolved from centuries of interpretation of Islam. As a result, we are dealing with a region where political, religious, social and by extension musical censorship has been rife.

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This session featured two musicians. Guitarist, composer and producer Jason Carter, who was born in the UK and now lives in Finland. He has toured extensively in the Middle East playing a mix of classical, jazz, flamenco and Arab-inspired music. Ourrad Rabah is a prolific rapper and music producer, originally from Algeria but currently based in Barcelona.

They offered very personal perspectives on the issue of censorship in the Middle East. The other two participants were social observers and commentators, ethnomusicologist Thomas Burkhalter who has worked in Lebanon and anthropologist Layla Al-Zubaidi, moderator for the session and who also contributed.

Jason Carter began the session, relaying his experience of playing in the Middle East. Starting with an anecdote of playing for the Sultan of Brunei, he said,“When you go and play in Brunei, you have to go to the Sultan’s palace in order to be ‘censored’. You hand over your set list and they will then tell you to play a certain number for them to make sure that there will be no anti-Islamic or anti-government lyrics in the song. Which in my case is fairly straightforward as my music is instrumental. So they asked me, ‘Can you play number three?’ I began playing it and then they started talking. So I stopped. ‘Why do you stop?’, they wanted to know. ‘Because you are talking’, I replied. Then I was asked to play another number from the list. And the same happened: I played, they talked, I stopped. Apparently it always goes like this. Now, the Censor Board never goes to any of the concerts they are supposed to judge. But this time they went.” He was not sure if that was linked to his response to their talking!

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Jason outlined how he also performs in Saudi Arabia, usually at the invitation of the British government. These concerts are by invitation only. Public concerts are forbidden, since the authorities are afraid of crowds. This is how one gets the bizarre situation that the capital Riyadh can boast of a gorgeous Opera House - which is closed to the public. Information about all concerts is passed around by word of mouth that can lead to some interesting encounters. Jason told the story of “the hippie of Jidda”, who owns a shop that he also uses for concerts. Informal concerts like these are not allowed but take place nevertheless. These encounters then lead to interesting musical exchanges and these keep pulling Jason back into

a country that he has come to know, through music, in a highly unique way.

The next speaker was Ourrad Rabbah. Ourrad comes from Algeria where, in his own words, “There was nothing in Algeria but silence. So some of us decided to break this silence and we started a band called MBS, Micro Brise la Silence (microphone breaks the silence).” This silence can be traced back many years and results from the deliberate tragedy of its 1950s

war that rid the country of its French colonisers. As seen so often, a victorious military movement that becomes the government is beset by a mindset that is profoundly anti-democratic. Couple that with an extremely small revenue base (in this case, oil) and there

is the making of what Ourrad calls, “a mafia of the military and the oil companies that hides

behind a democratic façade”.

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In Algeria, censorship works in a variety of ways. Law 144/144bis bans any criticism of the government and government officials. After the bloody conflict of the 1990s, ostensibly between an Islamic guerrilla movement and the military, law 46 was put into effect. It covers national reconciliation but Ourrad says that the law “whitewashes all the murders and atrocities that were committed. It guarantees immunity from prosecution.” Censorship has also been used extensively against the Kabylie/Berber culture, which is effectively banned. The 1998 assassination of the extremely popular singer Lounes Matoub represents censorship at its most infamous. “Lounes never appeared on Algerian television”, recalled Ourrad, who himself had felt the security state breathing down his neck. “My latest album is banned because there is one song on it that is critical of the president (Bouteflika).” Another song that got him into trouble was the familiar theme of migration. “People under thirty have nowhere to go. So I made a video clip about someone who went to France. He said he would come back but in the end he stayed away. The clip was banned because it was said to encourage young men to leave the country.” Today Ourrad had found his own way into Europe, Barcelona to be precise. “I have had the opportunity to work with rappers from Latin America and I have been working on new material. I will not be releasing another CD. Instead, my music will be available through www.hiphoprevelation.org/algerianrap so that Algerians, who have access to the internet but no credit cards, can get my messages for free.”

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Now in a Western country, Ourrad observes that the biggest censor is the audience of the mass media itself, an audience that allows itself to be deprived of a social conscience as a result. “Public consciousness is the biggest tool you have against censorship”, says Ourrad. “In Algeria your consciousness can be violently removed; in the West, they just lull you to sleep.”

The third speaker, Thomas Burkhalter has researched independent music making in a country that has been described at least in the Western media as “the only democracy in the Arab world”, “a bridge between East and West”, “and a place of irreconcilable differences.” Thomas said it is probably all of these and a lot more. It also happens to be next door to Syria, a totalitarian state that has been intervening in Lebanese affairs for many decades, and Israel, which in the words of one Palestinian musician is holding an entire people (i.e. the Palestinians) hostage and which has just waged a destructive war against Lebanon, in the wake of which some very troubling political repercussions have followed.

Thomas discussed how the Lebanese authorities have been doing some musical censorship of their own. “The Lebanese army at check points, used to force car drivers to show the music tapes used in the car, and they used to look for Marcel Khalife’s tapes; if found the driver would be harassed and tapes confiscated. Even at the American University of Beirut campus, the Lebanese army used to confiscate tape recorders when Marcel is being played.” Marcel Khalife was infamously prosecuted for insulting Islam after recording a song that was based on a very famous poem. Censorship also touches on the alternative music scene, which has proclaimed itself “tired of all the bullshit” of the Israel-Hezbollah war, the corruption and lying politicians. “Young people simply don’t believe in politics any more”, said Burkhalter. He described how they also have a fairly laconic attitude when it comes to censorship. If the alternative scene is confronted with censorship, they walk to the Lebanese press and get free publicity. Still, getting into the mainstream is a problem in a country that has also fallen victim to the Idols culture. “For the mainstream, you need nice music and a pretty face”, was one comment Burkhalter cited.

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Having said all that, there are taboos that are best left alone. One is conscious of the fact that Lebanon has been through civil war and the sensitivities that, naturally, continue to linger from that dreadful period. Being offended can lead to serious consequences in a potentially explosive society where many people try to employ music for their own agendas. Layla Al-Zubaidi added that “offending public morals” also continues to be a big offence and no-go area in Lebanese society. Like so many others, the alternative scene in Lebanon has taken to the internet, where YouTube and MySpace offer outlets for music the radio refuses to play. Indeed, the internet as a space where a censorship-free community can exist was brought up on numerous occasions; as the one place, perhaps, where the right to free expression can exist pretty much unfettered.

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But there is also a more recent trend, born straight out of the war between Israel and Hezbollah: music that loudly proclaims pan-Arabism and sings the praises of Hezbollah and its leader Nasrallah. In the complex and diverse society which is Lebanon, Arab music is of course widely appreciated but emphatically Arab-Islamic overtones can cause unwanted tensions.

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“Devil worshippers”

The “Satanic Affair” affects bands in places as disparate as Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco and elsewhere. In many parts of the world (Latin America comes to mind), hard rock, heavy metal and their numerous offshoots are a sign of rebellion, maybe less in the lyrics but simply in the music itself. Young people, often well educated, find something in rock music that resonates with them. Unfortunately, they have often been portrayed as drug users and devil-worship- pers, which in many of the deeply conservative societies in the Middle East are cause for major concern - and indeed censorship.

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/// jason carter

There were crackdowns on heavy rock bands in Egypt in 1997, when students were arrested by the Interior Ministry for being “devil worshippers” and similarly in Morocco in 2004 when members of a band called Boulevard des Musicians received sentences of up to one year for “undermining the Muslim faith”. Another crackdown happened in Lebanon following the sui- cide of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. And the treatment? In Lebanon, expect long hours of interroga- tion and at times violence. As one Lebanese rocker said in a sound fragment from Thomas Burkhalter’s files: “You go to jail for a day or two and then you come out bruised because you have been badly treated. How badly - that’s according to your jailers’ mood.”

Islamic music

Freemuse has hosted a somewhat virulent debate about whether or not Islam forbids music on its on-line “Guest Book”. Some participants were adamant that music by musical instruments is simply not permitted in Islam, “totally haram”, as one contributor wrote, while others said the exact opposite. The Lebanese scholar Shaikh Ibrahim Ramadan Al-Mardini from the Beirut Studies and Documentation Centre in Lebanon told a regional Freemuse conference in Beirut this: “There is no ban on music in the Qu’ran, and those talking about which music is haram and which music is halal have very weak evidence.” On the ground, there is overwhelming evidence that far from forbidding music, Islam is a fountain of creativity, from Morocco to Pakistan. There is a large and vibrant Sufi tradition that is centred on music. Around the world, dancefloors reverberate to the music of Turkish-born DJ and producer Mercan Dede and quite probably the revellers have no idea that what they are dancing to is Sufi tradition brought into the age of modern dance music. All told, it is probably as difficult to proscribe “unislamic” music as it is to circumscribe what exactly constitutes Islamic music. Jason Carter shared how he encounters these discussions frequently when he tours the Middle East. “I would love to find out more, for instance, about the Taliban soldiers who were ”

the debate about whether or not music and Islam go together is actually a disguised debate

about the interpretation of the religion itself and its sacred texts.

studying music at the Islamabad Music Institute

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It may be safe to say that the subtext to

The book “Shoot the Singer!” touches on the issues of Islam and music and also contains chapters on Algeria and Marcel Khalife. The Freemuse website has a report of a regional conference on music and censorship that was held in Beirut in October 2005, where heavy rock and the issues surrounding Islam and music were extensively discussed.

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SESSION 11

Research and Education:

Researching music censorship

PANEL

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John Baily, Professor, Goldsmiths College, UK Michael Drewett, Senior Lecturer, Rhodes University, South Africa Annemette Kirkegaard, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark Maya Medich, Anthropologist, UK

Moderator Martin Cloonan, Chairperson of Freemuse, Convenor of Postgraduate Studies, University of Glasgow, UK

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*

The final session of the conference dealt with theory. How do you research instances of music censorship and how do you then tell the stories about it? It produced a wide-ranging discussion, moderated by Freemuse chairperson, Martin Cloonan, whose own area of interest includes the contemporary musical scene in the UK. There were contributions from four panellists who have been engaged in this work in many corners of the world. They were professor John Baily from Goldsmiths College in the UK, who researched music censorship in Afghanistan; Michael Drewett, Senior Lecturer, Rhodes University, who wrote a thesis on music censorship in his own country, South Africa; Annemette Kirkegaard, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, who did extensive research in East Africa and particularly Zanzibar; and Maya Medich, an anthropologist originally from what is now Bosnia & Herzegovina, who researched music censorship in Belarus.

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The session covered five main areas. It started with questions of methodology: how does one approach research in the field? It moved on to the question of how to tell the stories that have been gathered. Both these areas come even sharper into focus when the discussion turned to

how one can avoid being used for the political purposes of the informants. Whose story do you tell and for what reason? The next question addressed the issue of self-censorship. When self-censorship descends into the re-writing of history, there is a potential very slippery slope. What are the trapdoors when one gathers preserves and then teaches the history of censorship, even in one’s own country? And finally there are the consequences from those lessons that bring around a full circle: does music cause bad things to happen and should we therefore ban it?

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Research methods

The session began with a discussion about methodology – how does one approach research in the field of music censorship? It is often said that social research is journalism with a five-year deadline and the remarks made in this sections seem to bear this out. Basic journalistic rules apply equally to short and long deadlines: extensive documentation, a great variety of sources, as many points of view as possible and facts that have been checked. John Baily, who wrote the first Freemuse report on Afghanistan, says that he did not have a systematic method. “It was a rag-bag of old research, newspaper clippings, academic sources personal contacts and others.” Pretty much the way most researchers start out and under the circumstances of an Afghanistan just emerging from Taliban rule the research could never have been as exhaustive as one would have liked. “There was more information that I would like to have had. And there were very contradictory accounts as well and clearly a number of grey areas. For instance, it would appear that the Taliban banned a lot of instruments but not a particular kind of drum. I would also have liked to ask the Taliban about their chants. It could well be that they banned other types of music in order to promote their own. The picture becomes even more complex when you realise that at private parties, Taliban officials would have music played that they had condemned and banned in public.”

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For his thesis, Michael Drewett interviewed musicians, DJs, censors and many others - a total of 70 people whose stories he then tried to corroborate. For this, he went to government archives, read old magazines including fan magazines, visited numerous second hand record stores (a very rich vein of sound) and made sure that, in true researcher - and indeed journalistic - fashion, he always had a minimum of two sources. After all, peoples’ memories are defective, at times by default and at times by design. Drewett came across stories of musicians who gave different account of events - or indeed: of each other - and individuals who said they had been banned in the days of apartheid, claims which he then checked against publications in the government gazettes of the day.

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One vital aspect of the research is obviously the interview. Here, other media can get painfully in the way as John Baily recalls. “I have had someone working for me who was brutally treated by the Taliban. I would not be able to talk to him, especially given an experience he had, when he was gearing himself up for a BBC program, which took enormous effort on his part - only to get one minute aired.” It helps to be honest about your intentions and precise about what it is you want to discuss with your interviewees. There is probably not one method

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for this as cultural contexts differ enormously. For example, Maya Medich noticed that in Belarus problems were not that severe. “Inside the country, people were prepared to talk, provided they knew why we were there. On the other hand, dealing with officials was tricky.”

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The rule is, all agreed, to try and document as extensively as possible. Get as much information as you can and be very precise in how you document it and look at all the people you have been interviewing. Build up a comprehensive picture of all the agents involved in music censorship in a particular place. True to his profession that is journalism, Maxwell Sibanda asked about the representation of the point of view of the researcher (journalists are usually told to stay out of the story they are telling) and one antidote for that is obviously the use, again, of as many sources as possible to corroborate your evidence. Checking your facts, in short.

Telling their stories

Clearly, the responsibility of a researcher does not end at having gathered the facts in a comprehensive, responsible and conscientious manner. The next phase may be even more crucial: telling that story. First off, it must be said that you can simply never be sure how any story, report or representation of what you perceive as facts will be interpreted. But good research builds in a few safeguards and so does a good presentation. The best starting point is Martin Cloonan’s point that “people are subjects, not objects” of any story we are trying to tell. This brings in other challenges, of which more in the next section. But the basic point is crucial. The second important building block was provided by Maya Medich, who clearly sees a parallel between media hype and (local or international) activism. Both require black and white pictures, simple slogans. Here are the good guys, over there are the bad guys. Reality is rarely, if ever thus.“We found that contrary to what we had heard, it was not always that bad.” Her message:

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Allow for the grey areas when telling the story. They are usually the most interesting.

Political agendas

These are all noble and good research agendas but that will never take away the fact that peo- ple will attempt to use researchers and research for their own purpose. This should not be read as a value judgement, it’s natural. Maya Medich: “We were clearly put on the side of

the censored musicians.” But there is a twist to this in the specific Belarusian context. “There are two competing nationalisms in Belarus. The government is associated with the Russian side, while opposition music is identified with the Belarusian language. Given that, a fight for free expression is conflated with nationalism, which I found quite troubling. Russian is also an indigenous language and you find the opposition blacklisting music that is sung in Russian.” This leads straight into something that Annemette Kirkegaard encountered while researching in Zanzibar, an island that has had a troubled relationship with mainland Tanzania. Who owns the ”

Music travels, intermingles with a plethora of things, from religion to technology,

music? One may hear, “It’s our music

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but the reality is that music is almost always mixed.

commerce and politics. “It is never purely ‘ours’, belonging to only one group”, she concludes.

Equally tricky is dealing with the reasons why some music has disappeared and untangling claims that this is for political reasons from other non-political reasons. One can argue about whether non-political trends also constitutes censorship but the fact remains that music may also not be heard for the simple reason that it is considered “too underground” or “not commercial enough”, trends and fashion change, recording companies make commercial decisions. Where and how do you identify the real situation, especially when people claim they were silenced for political reasons, while in reality this may not be the case?

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A

final aspect is that of the considerable influence wielded by the Diaspora as well as of other

audiences external to a location. One sees musicians idealising the homeland they have not seen for so long, or preventing others from taking a critical stance. This has been seen amongst the Afghan Diaspora. In a linked example, UK DJ Andy Kershaw was quoted as being furious with the British pro-Israel lobby about the fact that the BBC, including himself, questioned Israel’s actions in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. This went as far as attempts to prevent Kershaw from playing tracks that condemned the war in Lebanon. Both in-country and in the various diasporas all over the world, political agendas play themselves out through music. Dealing with this issue will not make it go away; the same honest, precise and cross-checking work methods apply here as much as anywhere else.

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Self-censorship

In response to attempts to silence people, a common reaction is of course that people begin to silence themselves, a pernicious process which in Freemuse director Marie Korpe’s view is

greatly damaging to anyone’s creativity. Reading Dmitri Shostakovich’s biographies bring this

in

sharp and very painful focus and there are many more examples. Quite insidious in this

regard is the entry by John Roselli that Annemette Kierkegaard found in an online dictionary that basically states that music self-censorship does not exist. But the question is important. Martin Cloonan asks: “How would you know whether a government says something is not allowed or someone is censoring himself?” Maya Medich says that this is clearly a problem in Belarus. “There is no official censorship but there exists such a culture of fear that it will prevent people from expressing themselves. A similar reaction can be seen in response to the declared war on terror. It is useful to recall once again the infamous Clear Channel episode, when an American chain that owned up to 1400 radio stations voluntarily declared that it would be a good idea to stop playing 150 songs that were listed in an email to all stations. Stephan Smith-Said is preparing a book on self-censorship. “I’m trying to build up as

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comprehensive a picture as possible of all the agents doing self-censorship simultaneously. Who, after all, will ever be able to answer the question: why did you not do the right thing?” We can look forward to a very important book that goes well beyond the scope of music censorship. One group it clearly also applies to are, indeed, journalists.

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Rewriting history?

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There is an old joke in the Netherlands that says, “if you ask any Dutchman these days they were all in the resistance against the Nazi occupation.” In South Africa, the joke now is, “you will not find one white person who was ever in favour of apartheid.” History must be preserved because not only victorious forces rewrite it, victorious ideologies do too.

John Baily came across the person in charge of Afghanistan’s sound archives and asked him whether he would throw away the Taliban tapes now that the regime had been removed. “Oh no!”, came the swift reply, “It’s a very important part of our history.” Such eminently sensible reasoning does not apply everywhere. To Michael Drewett, the work he has been doing and the ongoing work with Roger Lucey and Paul Erasmus is very much a work of preserving history. And this clearly extends to the work of teaching censorship in history, especially in a time and a place when a whole new mythology is emerging about who did what in the struggle for South Africa’s liberation, who claims to have been a victim of apartheid and therefore deserving of contemporary sympathy. Erasmus gets fed up with people who claim all kinds of heroic victimisation in retrospect - while in reality they did nothing of any signifi- cance. This clearly goes beyond “censorship is bad but we don’t do it any more”, for the simple reason that it is patently untrue. It also helps to dispel false notions that people may collectively have of themselves. “Remember that records were seized and burned in the UK”, Cloonan reminds us. It can happen anywhere and complacency is usually a sign that history’s lessons have either not been taken on board or forgotten.

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History’s lessons applied

One of the most basic fears is that music causes bad things to happen. This is an extremely sensitive issue in many parts of the world and at the same time a notion that needs careful unpacking. History could be of help here, if properly documented and - hopefully - unpolluted by unhelpful latter day notions that load it with new meaning that it never had. Michael Drewett: “Does music cause bad things to happen? The argument is not that simple. But one thing is certain; once you censor, you decide what other people can and cannot hear.”

Simon Bikindi was arrested in the Netherlands in 2001 and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. He stands accused of inciting genocide, which he denies. In a very thoughtful article about this issue on the Freemuse website, the following can be read: “The chamber judges in the Bikindi case are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they find him not guilty of inciting genocide with his songs, victims of the 1994 slaughter are certain to cry foul. But if they convict him, the unintended consequence might be repression elsewhere of legitimate forms of political and artistic expression. In her well-written report on the case, South African journalist Stephanie Nieuwoudt quotes the executive director of the Johannesburg-based Freedom of Expression Institute, Jane Duncan, as saying that unfortunate consequences may arise if Simon Bikindi is convicted: “While there is no doubt that his songs fed into the general hysteria that fuelled the genocide, it may be

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difficult to prove a causal link between his songs and the genocide.” And this was added at the conference: If we’d be true to our purpose as Freemuse, we would make a distinction between the singer and the politician. Don’t shoot the singer. But what if the singer is a politician at the same time? Does music cause bad things to happen? And is that a reason to ban it?

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It comes back to an old discussion that Drewett recalls, between freedom of speech and hate speech, the First Amendment versus the ban on inciting hatred, which in the West is rapidly being watered down to “the right not to be offended”, a troubling development. Far less dramatic in scope but tragic all the same were the school killings by two young boys in Columbine. Did the “ultra-violent” Marilyn Manson music that they listened to cause them to go on their shooting spree? Drewett exhorts us to go further in our thinking, research and debate to find answers to that nagging question. One way forward, without any guarantee that the definitive answer will ever be agreed upon is to go out, find people’s stories, tell and retell them truthfully and make sure that politics and ideology do not interfere with what you have established as a fact. Otherwise, to paraphrase one intervention from the audience, you end up with the situation that still exists in too many countries, where people have no media to rely on, only a Ministry of Information.

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FINAL REMARKS

By Teresa Hanley

“Music should be like air. It should blow so anyone can feel it, be in the atmosphere, yeh, beautiful music.”

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(From a South African child participating in a Freemuse-supported workshop)

*

This remarkable gathering of more than 200 participants including musicians, journalists, lawyers, academics and activists covered a vast range of subjects and countries. The energy of the gathering was tremendous with open, frank discussion of some sensitive issues and some highly personal stories shared. The scope of the discussions spanned classical music from Afghanistan to rock in Cuba and hip-hop in Belarus to name just some of those discussed. The centrality of music to life – the power of it, the foundation of a society, the dysfunction of a society without music were all referred to by speakers. The range of music played and discussed in the conference was matched sadly only by the extent and variety of forms that censorship can take. Participants emphasised the local nature of censorship and how if it can look different in each context, however a number of common themes emerged through the two days’ discussion.

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First, the number of players involved in the process of censorship was a theme highlighted in many sessions. The state is not the only censor, not even always the main one. Other important “players” in censorship include: the music industry through its choices of which musicians to record and promote; the media can play a role in its choices of who to broadcast; journalists through their reporting on censorship affect the extent to which it is tolerated or debated; and the audience and the musicians themselves all play a role according to how they respond to censorship. All these players can contribute to building a culture of repression.

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Secondly, speakers argued against simplistic analyses of a situation – against a portrayal of any experience of censorship as a simple black and white, clear-cut, good and bad guys situation. Any country’s context is dynamic – be in the creation of new spaces and opportunities in China for freer expression, be it differences within countries, be it the situation in Belarus which is teetering on the precipice of increased repression but is not there yet. Overly simplistic analyses are not just misleading but can be damaging. Also, they do not do justice to those battling for and often achieving change.

Continuing this theme of complexity, speakers highlighted the difficulties of pinning down censorship; it can be a subtle, intangible phenomenon. In many contexts the parameters of censorship are not official. Examples such as the “telephone lists” of those banned in Belarus, vague directives that music should not offend moral sensibilities in Lebanon all show how non-state actors can be drawn into implementing a process of censorship and themselves fuel a culture of fear. But even when the official apparatus of state is in place to protect freedom of expression participants shared numerous examples of where officials abuse the law in their interpretation and application of it. For instance in Zimbabwe, an independent radio station continues to wait for the “right conditions” to be in place for the government to feel able to give the go ahead for it to broadcast in line with the courts ruling that it should be able to, it has been waiting for nearly seven years. In Turkey, the officials’ order to remote radio stations to play a song, no longer banned, just once to comply with the letter of the law that the music should be played, but definitely not its spirit are an explicit manipulation and abuse of the law. Simple analyses of censorship are not always possible and these lead to methodological and ethnical issues that researchers grapple with as they highlighted the dilemmas facing music censorship research.

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New technology was a feature of many presentations. The internet is providing a space in which censorship takes place, for instance through the well known Google experience in China in which responses to search requests are changed according to whether they take place inside or outside China. On the other hand, the conference heard examples of how the internet has also provided a means for musicians to circumvent restrictions in this less regulated space.

Indeed the courage and persistence of musicians to challenge censorship continually featured in every single session. Subtle manipulation of language in China to trick the censors, playing with images and language in Indonesia, covering their faces to ensure they cannot be spotted in Cuba and use of the internet, small clubs away from official eyes and ears and other tricks are all drawn on musicians around the world as ways to enable their music to be played.

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Musicians and many working with them often face grave danger in carrying out these challenges. The Conference through personal testimonies from around the world was reminded of the personal sacrifices that many make to sustain free expression. However, many speakers brought messages of hope. That whilst the situation may not be perfect in many places, change is possible. Musicians continue to challenge restriction and this enables change. Changes such as the return of music to the streets of Kabul, new openings in China, new generations pushing the limits in Belarus, international collaboration between France and West African bands building strength were just some of the examples the conference highlighted. Maybe the experience with most impact for many of the participants was the session, which brought together one of South Africa’s most prominent protest singers of the apartheid period, Roger Lucey with Paul Erasmus, the police agent responsible for making an end to Rogers musical career. Both men had suffered great personal loss and distress as a result of their actions of the past years. They had at one time been very starkly on the opposites sides of the fence but now are working together to ensure both that the history or repression is not forgotten by new generations but also to contribute to building a new South Africa with new musical traditions. They, like other South Africans share their experience with other countries emerging from conflict to demonstrate that it is possible to build links and connections between people and communities once fiercely at war with each other.

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Explaining the motivation behind the actions of musicians and many others in the efforts to enable people to express themselves freely, Paul Erasmus said “I like to think I have been able to make a difference; that Roger makes a difference, I certainly believe that Freemuse makes a difference. If it makes that difference it is really worth it.”

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SPEAKERS & MODERATORS

Andy Fuller (Australia)

Andy Fuller was born in 1977 in Melbourne, Australia. He completed his Master of Arts in 2004 at University of Melbourne. His thesis studied the politically subversive literature of the Indonesian writer Seno Gumira Ajidarma. During 2005, Fuller spent six months in Jakarta where he was an Asialink writer in residence at the Lontar Foundation. During this time he engaged with writers and musicians who are dealing with social and political issues. Fuller is a PhD student at the University of Tasmania in Australia, where he studies the culture of censorship within Indonesian arts.

Annemette Kirkegaard (Denmark)

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Annemette Kirkegaard was born in Denmark in 1954. She is trained as a musicologist and works with a wide range of music forms. She did her PhD on East African popular music, and has written a number of papers and articles on for instance Zanzibari and East African music, Andalusian Easter processions, Rhythm studies, women in African music, and music & censorship. She has worked as a teacher and researcher at Copenhagen University since 1990 at both Center for African Studies and the Music Department where she is presently Head of Department. Member of the Freemuse Advisory Board

Ariana Hernandez-Reguant (Spain > USA)

Cultural anthropologist Ariana Hernandez-Reguant is Professor of Media Studies at University of California in San Diego, Department of Communication. Author of several articles on Cuban music, cultural policy, the arts, and the Cuban cultural industries. Executive Committee Member of Freemuse.

Daniel Brown (Palestine > USA > France)

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Daniel Brown was born in Palestine. He is Vice-Chair of Freemuse and has published several articles on music and censorship, notably covering the problems with hip-hop in France. He is senior staff reporter and producer of a weekly music programme called World Tracks, with Radio France International. The Paris-based journalist has been covering cross-cultural and hybrid music for over a decade. Since April 2004, Daniel Brown is also editor-in-chief of the English section of the award-winning website www.mondomix.com

Fabrice Tarrit (France)

Fabrice Tarrit was born in France in 1977. He is the secretary general (Chief Executive) of French NGO Survie – an NGO which highlights political hurdles to development. Fabrice Tarrit leads a three-year campaign against French government support to African Dictators. Many African artists (most of them rappers and reggae musicians like Tiken Jah Fakoly, Didier Awadi, Tata Pound) have participated in this campaign, helping Survie to record and release a compilation CD entitled ‘Africa wants to be free’. A second compilation album, ‘Let’s Decolonize’, is on its way.

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Fadal Dey (Côte d’Ivoire)

Born in 1966 in Bouaflé, Côte d’Ivoire, Koné Ibrahima Kalilou became singer and reggae musician under the name of Fadal Dey after starting off in theater. After an earlier four track demo in 1993, he released his first album ‘Religion’ which sold more than 100,000 copies. His reputation quickly crossed the frontiers. Sales of his second album, ‘Jahsso’, reached 150,000 copies. His latest album, ‘Méditation’, was released in 2003. His concerts in West Africa attract thousands of admirers, and he is currently one of the rising stars of reggae music in both the Côte d’Ivoire and Africa.

Feza Tansu¤ (Turkey)

Dr. Feza Tansu¤ was born in 1962. He is a professor of anthropology and music at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. Educated in Izmir, graduated from Dokuz Eylül University and ‹zmir State Conservatory of Music, studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Author of several books and dozens of scholarly articles on traditions of Turkish and Central Asian music, and was editor of the International Journal of Music in Turkey. Carried out field research on Turkish popular music and culture and in Central Asia. Current research involves the relations between music and politics and the question of national identity in contemporary Central Asia.

Jason Carter (UK > Finland)

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Guitarist, producer and composer Jason Carter was born in UK in 1969 and currently resides in Finland. His style is a mix of Flamenco, Jazz and Classical, demonstrated through the wide range of CDs that he has produced for Sony, EMI, ASV and ARC Music. Jason performs mainly as a solo guitarist, and has toured the world extensively for British Council. He has strong artistic links with the Middle East and was the co-founder of the ‘Bahrain International Guitar Festival’. He is writing a book about how music can be a bridge builder between worlds and cultures.

Jeroen de Kloet (Netherlands)

Jeroen de Kloet was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. He teaches at the department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on the globalisation of popular culture, in particular music, with a specific interest in China. He has done extensive field research in Beijing about its local music cultures, and published several articles on this. His current research also includes other genres such as film and art, as well as a comparative project on computer hackers in Shanghai and New York.

John Baily (UK)

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Born in 1943 in Glastonbury, England. Professor of Ethnomusicology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Two years of ethno musicological fieldwork in Afghanistan in the 1970s, with further research in Pakistan, Iran, and California. Currently working on Afghan music in London with a grant from the AHRC Diasporas Migration & Identities programme. Published a monograph and many articles and chapters on the music of Afghanistan, several CDs, videos and DVDs, and is the author of Freemuse’s first report, on the censorship of music in Afghanistan.

Kaiser Abdurusul Uyghuroghlu (East Turkistan / Xinjiang > Sweden)

Kaiser Abdurusul Uyghuroghlu was born in East Turkistan (Xinjiang), in Kashgar-Atush city in 1969. Today he is based in Sweden, where he is a PhD student at Stockholm University’s Oriental Department. In 1988-1993 he studied at Xinjiang Pedagogic University Art Department (bachelor degree), in 1995 he took a Master of Art at Beijing Art Academy, in 2002 Master of Art at the History & Civilisation Department of International Islam University in Malaysia. He is a researcher and performer in free arts.

Layla Al-Zubaidi (Germany > Lebanon)

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Layla Al-Zubaidi was born in 1973 in Germany of Iraqi-Syrian parents. After having worked several years in Palestine, she is now Director at the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Middle East Office in Beirut, Lebanon. She has studied anthropology, specialising in issues of cultural

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globalisation and diversity, and has published the study ‘Walking a Tightrope: News Media and Freedom of Expression in the Arab Middle East’ (2004). In 2005, she co-organized the regional conference ‘Freedom of Expression in Music’ in Beirut by Freemuse in cooperation with HBF.

Lemez Lovas (UK)

British musician, composer, DJ and journalist DJ Lemez Lovas was born in 1976. Studied at Oxford University, Gnessin Conservatory of Music, Moscow and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Writes for various magazines and broadcasts regularly on BBC World Service English and Russian services on politics and culture in the former Soviet Union. Has written original scores for theatre and television. Founding member and leader of the orchestra Oi Va Voi (V2 Records).

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Mahsa Vahdat (Iran)

Born in Tehran in 1973, Mahsa Vahdat started her career in music by taking piano lessons of Minoo Mohebbi from an early age. She picked up Persian traditional singing with Pari Maleki and continued singing with Mehdi Fallah and Mohsen Keramati. Vahdat also plays the setar which she studied under Ramin Kakavand and later Masoud Shoari. She entered the Art University in Tehran in 1993 and graduated with a BA in Music. Participated on the CD ‘Lullabies from the Axis of Evil’ - a joint effort by different female singers - and on Pejman Taheri’s album ‘Rishe Dar Khak’.

st

Marjan Vahdat (Iran)

Marjan Vahdat was born in Tehran in 1976. She studied piano with Minoo Mohebbi and Persian traditional singing with Pari Maleki. Here subsequent singing instructors were Mehdi Fallah and Sima Bina. Ramin Kakavand and Masoud Shoari have been her setar teachers.

Marie Korpe (Sweden > Denmark)

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Freemuse Executive Director Marie Korpe was born in Sweden and worked as a reporter to the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation for 12 years. She has lived and worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and also reported from Africa and Asia. Project manager on major

international cultural-political events and exhibitions in Sweden and Denmark. Organiser of the 1 World Conference on Music and Censorship in 1998. Co-editor of ‘Smashed Hits – The Book of Banned Music’. Editor of ‘Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today’ published in

2004.

Mario Masvidal Saavedra (Cuba)

Dr. Mario Masvidal Saavedra was born in Cuba in 1953. He graduated from University of Havana in 1974, and up til 1992, he worked as professor at the university. From 1992 until present day, Professor of Linguistics, Communication Theory, and Semiotics, at the Higher Institute of Arts of Havana. He has lectured in the USSR, Canada, Spain, and Mexico from 1990 to 2004. Has hosted a weekly radio show for 12 years, and has hosted a musical tv show during the past four years. Has published various articles and essays on Cuban media and music during the last seven years.

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Martin Cloonan (UK)

Dr. Martin Cloonan is Chairperson of Freemuse. He is Senior Lecturer and Convenor of Postgraduate Studies, Department of Music, University of Glasgow, Scotland. PhD University of Liverpool,1994. Author of ‘Banned! Censorship of Popular Music in Britain: 1967-1992’ (Arena, 1996), co-author of ‘Policing Pop’ (Temple University Press, 2003) and ‘Popular Music Censorship in Africa’ (Ashgate 2006), and of numerous articles on the politics of popular music, especially in relation to issues of censorship and freedom of expression.

Maxwell Sibanda (Zimbabwe > Germany)

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Zimbabwean arts journalist Maxwell Sibanda was born in 1968. Since 2000 he has done research on music and politics in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe he worked as media manager at Roof Top Promotions, arts & entertainment editor at Daily News and as marketing officer at Gramma Records. He has been a guest writer for Pen Germany (2006), Internationales Haus der Zuflucht der Autoren Graz, Austria (2005), and Hamburger Stiftung, Hamburg (2004-05). Has published three books. Executive Committe Member of Freemuse.

Maya Medich (Bosnia and Herzegovina > UK)

Anthropologist Maya Medich was born in Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1974, and is based in UK where she studied at Kingston University, and School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London. She specialises in research on civil society and the state in post-communist countries. Partner in London-based production and distribution company of Central and Eastern European independent documentary film.

Michael Drewett (South Africa)

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Michael Drewett was born in 1965. He is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Rhodes University in South Africa. His doctoral thesis was on the censorship of popular music in South Africa in the 1980s. Co-editor of ‘Popular Music Censorship in Africa’ (Ashgate 2006). Has written various articles on South African popular music and produced the documentary film ‘Stopping the Music’ about an instance of South African music censorship. Member of the Freemuse Advisory Board and is on the executive of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

Mirwaiss Sidiqi (Afghanistan)

Mirwaiss Sidiqi was born in 1968. He is program manager of Aga Khan Music Initiative for Central Asia in Afghanistan. He has 12 years of experience working various companies in Europe and Central Asia, serving as sales manager, marketing director, branch councilors, market researcher, international commercial exhibit, and conference coordinator.

 

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Ole Reitov (Denmark)

Journalist and Freemuse Programme Officer Ole Reitov was born in Denmark in 1949. Culture journalist with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation for more than 30 years. From 1987 to

1990

chairman of the EBU World Music Workshop. India correspondent to Swedish

Broadcasting 1987-1988. From 2000 to 2003 project advisor to the Danish Center for Culture

and Development. Took the initiative to the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship in

1998

and is a founding member of Freemuse. Co-editor of ‘Smashed Hits – the Book of

Banned Music’ and contributor to several publications on music censorship. Project manager of the conference.

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Ourrad Rabah (Algeria > Spain)

Ourrad Rabah was born in Algeria in 1977. Today he is based in Barcelona, Spain. He started making music in 1994 with his rap band MBS (the Mic Break Silence). They produced five albums, and alongside he produced three solo albums. Rabah’s rap is very engaged socially and politically and talks about street life of Algerian youth. He left Algeria for the first time in 1999 to France. Since then he has been performing all around the world “to pass the message and make his music freely, far away from control”.

Paul Erasmus (South Africa)

Paul F. Erasmus was born in 1956. Studied law, police science, political science, philosophy, fine art, and history. Worked as police officer, field intelligence operative, combatant “border war” (Namibia 1981), “Stratcom (Dep. C.O., 1991) general investigations, covert investigations, technical Services (1993). He “boarded” from South Africa Police in 1993 with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and a major depression. Participated in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and was granted partial amnesty in 2002. Started own businesses in 1995, (art school) and now farms and is a company director.

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Roger Lucey (South Africa)

Musician and journalist Roger John Lucey was born in South Africa in 1954. Started writing songs and singing in Durban in the 1970’s. Moved to Johannesburg in late 1970’s and recorded his first album there which was banned for possession and distribution. Second album was also restricted. During this time security police engaged in covert activity to silence him. After several years of crisis he started working for an international tv news agency. Has continued writing and producing music since then. Lucey is a main character in the film ‘Stopping the Music’.

fianar Yurdatapan (Turkey)

Composer fianar Yurdatapan was born in Susurluk in Turkey in 1941. He became famous as a composer and song writer during the 1970’s. In addition to his contribution to popular music, fianar has written music for films and plays. Following the military coup in 1980, he left Turkey and lived in exile in Germany for 12 years. The Turkish Military regime stripped him from his citizenship in 1983. He returned to Turkey in December 1991 and got his citizenship back in 1992. fianar has been the spokesperson of the ‘Initiative for Freedom of Expression’, leading a civil disobedience action since 1995.

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Shakeb Isaar (Afghanistan > Sweden)

Shakeb Isaar was born in Afghanistan in 1983. He worked as a presenter and producer of some entertainment programs and a music program on Kabul’s most popular youth TV and Radio station, Tolo TV and Arman FM Radio. After receiving death threats from radical religious groups he received asylum in Sweden where he continues working as Tolo TV’s Europe entertainment correspondent.

Simon Broughton (UK)

Journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker Simon Broughton was born in 1958. He is the editor of Songlines, the leading world music magazine and co-editor of the ‘Rough Guide to World Music’, the essential handbook to music around the globe. He has also made a number of television documentaries including ‘Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan’ and ‘Sufi Soul:

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The Mystic Music of Islam’.

Thomas Burkhalter (Switzerland)

Thomas Burkhalter was born in 1973. He is an ethnomusicologist and cultural journalist from Bern in Switzerland, works in the field of cultural globalisation. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Norient.com, an independent network for local and global soundscapes, and he wrote reportages on the music scenes in cities like Beirut, Istanbul, Cairo, Duschanbe, Belgrade, Mumbai for Swiss and international media. Member of the board of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. Currently he is working on his PhD about musicians in Beirut, their lifestyle and global dependencies.

Turgut Tarhanli (Turkey)

Professor Turgut Tarhanli was born in Istanbul in 1956. He graduated from Istanbul University in 1979. From 1999 Professor of International Law and Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law, Istanbul Bilgi University. Dean of the Faculty of Law and Director of the Human Rights Law Research Center at the same university. Recently, he was appointed as the member of the International Council of the Swedish NGO Foundation for Human Rights. Published six books and numerous articles on law and human rights, in particular in the Turkish national daily Radikal.

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SESSION 7

TESTIMONIES

“And the ‘beat’ goes on - censorship in Turkey”

Ali Kocatepe (Producer)

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Cencorship is not always based on clear reasons but on other excuses too. Ali Kocatepe’s concert in ‹stanbul Rumelian Fortress almost fell victim to such bigotry. Ali Kocatepe is a producer and president of the music performers institution MUYOBIR.

Attila Özdemiro¤lu (Composer)

Turkish Radio and Television Broadcasting Institution TRT which assumed the task of “educating the ears of the people” was a serious obstacle in the way of progress, especially for pop music. Özdemiro¤lu talked on “TRT Inspection Board” and its functioning.

Ayfer Düzdafl (Singer)

The music group Vengi Sodiri were arrested just before one of their performances in 1988. Then they were prosecuted for a programme they never did and songs they never sang. They had to get the court watch a police recording of the programme and were acquitted.

Bülent Forta (Producer)

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Bülent Forta spent long years in prison during the military coup period. He is now the chairman of Music Producers Union (MÜYAP). Talked about their struggle against “revenue stamp” practice and its inspection mechanism.

Ferhat Tunç (Singer)

On 23 June 2003, Ferhat Tunç succeeded going on to the stage in Do¤u Beyaz›t after a long battle against bans on his concerts. He said “Hello again!” as he went on to the stage, yet the police officers reported his words as “Hello PKK!” and Tunç spent one week in prison because of that. Has received death threats and has challenged the state at international courts.

Dr. Feza Tansu¤ (Musicologist)

Member of Staff at Yeditepe University. Tansu¤ talked on pretexts, institutions, functioning and consequences of censorship of music during the Republican period with examples from

1923-1950.

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Gülten Kaya (Producer)

A storm broke when Ahmet Kaya (whose albums sold at record numbers) stated during an awards ceremony that from then on he would sing songs in Kurdish. Kaya was forced to move abroad and died of heart attack at young age. Ahmet Kaya’s wife, Gülten Kaya, told his story.

Elif Kaya (Director)

Kurdish music has had its share of assimilationist policies, yet it has achieved to survive despite the heavy repression. Mesopotamia Cultural Center (MKM) is a target and close witness of that repression. Elif Kaya is the director of the centre.

Grup Yorum (music group)

Grup Yorum is the leading band of political music in Turkey. Some members of the band are still in prison. They have had no period of time without repression, bans on songs, concerts and arrests. Cihan Keflkek represented the group.

Hasan Salt›k (Producer)

Producing minority music is a risky business requiring courage. The label “Kalan Music” has a long record in that, and Hasan Salt›k is a witness to censorship through revenue stamp.

Istanbul University Law Department – Music and Fine Arts Club

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Repressive policies of Higher Education Board (known as YÖK) includes stopping the social activities of students. A Music Club in ‹stanbul University wants to organise a festival but even that is banned. Gözde Cengizel, a student told the story.

Ali R›za Binbo¤a (Soloist)

Binbo¤a once received the highest public vote during Eurovision Song Contest selections in Turkey, yet he was not liked by the jury at all. He is the president of the copyrights institution MESAM. He talked on ‘Censorship Mentality and the Damages’.

Selda Ba¤can (Singer)

Selda suffered a lot during the 12 September 1980 military coup period. She was arrested, tried and was imprisoned. Cencorship on music has never let her go.

Selda Yefliltepe (Editor of Voice of Anatolia)

The Radio and Television Higher Board (known as RTÜK) works persistently to silence broadcasting that it considers objectionable. The Radio Station ‘Voice of Anatolia’ is one of the victims which is shut down at present. One of the reasons of closing it down is that they have been broadcasting an Ahmet Kaya song.

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Vedat Türkali (Writer)

Türkali spent five years with Ruhi Su in prison and is the closest witness of Su’s ordeal. Ruhi Su is a symbol of a period. Türkali witnessed on Censorship and Repression during Cold War Period.

IN MEMORIAM Kurash Sultan (1959-2006) (Uighuristan > Turkey > Sweden)

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Kurash Sultan was born in 1959 in the capital city Urumchi of East Turkistan. In 1987, he founded a music ensemble which presented their popular show more than 1,000 times, and produced top-selling cassettes. In 1996 his artwork got him into trouble with the authorities, and he had flee to Turkey where he released four albums. In 19After nine months in jail, in 1999, UN helped him to come to Sweden as a political refugee. Before his untimely death a month before the conference, he worked as a music scholar at the Culture Department of Eskilstuna Municipality.

MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED Freemuse received funding for this conference from: Swedish International Development
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Freemuse received funding for this conference from:
Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency (SIDA) &
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
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MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED
MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED FREEMUSE (Freedom of Musical Expression) The World Forum on Music

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FREEMUSE (Freedom of Musical Expression)

The World Forum on Music and Censorship is an international organisation advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide.

OUR MAIN OBJECTIVES ARE TO:

- Document violations

- Inform media and the public

- Describe the mechanisms of censorship

- Support censored musicians and composers

- Develop a global support network

YOU CAN SUPPORT US – VISIT FREEMUSE.ORG

- the only website documenting music censorship globally

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music censorship globally MUSIC WILL NOT BE SILENCED Freemuse Nytorv 17 DK – 1450 Copenhagen K

Freemuse Nytorv 17 DK – 1450 Copenhagen K Denmark

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tel: + 45 33 32 10 27 fax: + 45 33 32 10 45

freemuse@freemuse.org

www.freemuse.org

ISSN 1601-2127