The musicians being persecuted for raising their
voices against political, cultural or religious repression.
"At night I turn to the wall and slowly close my
eyes and wait for someone to slit my throat". -- Shahin Najafi,
Rex Bloomstein talks to artists whose
songs have led to their imprisonment, torture and to the continuing threat of
violence; artists who have been driven from their homelands, artists who,
literally, risk dying for a song.
In one recent year alone 30 musicians were killed, seven
abducted, and 18 jailed by regimes, political and religious factions and other
groups determined to curb the power of music to rally opposition to them. In
Syria, singer Ibrahim
Quashoush, was found dead in the Orontes River, his vocal chords
symbolically ripped out.
Rex hears stories of tremendous courage and determination not to be
intimidated and silenced. Egyptian singer Ramy
Essam tells of how he was brutally tortured after his songs
rallied the crowds in Tahir Square during the Arab Spring. Two
weeks later, after recovering from his injuries, he was back performing his
songs aimed at bringing down the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Iranian singer Shahin Najafi
continues to perform around the world despite a fatwa calling
for his death, after his songs upset the religious leaders in his home country.
He says: "At night I turn to the wall and slowly close my
eyes and wait for someone to slit my throat".
Amid tales of musical repression in Sudan, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Lebanon,
come stories, more surprisingly, from Norway. Deeyah
Kahn reveals how she was forced to flee the country in the face
of violent threats aimed at stopping her singing and Sara Marielle Gaup talks of her struggle against
repression of the music of the indigenous Sami people in the north of the
country - labelled "the devil’s