Tag Archives: oppression

Tibetan Musician Sentenced to Years In Prison For His Song (Video)

Daily Sun reports that Tibetan singer Lhundrub Drakpa has been arbitrarily held in detention for over a year. He was arrested only two months after the release of his song ‘Black Hat’. Now Chinese authorities have sentenced Lhundrub to 6 years in prison for criticizing China’s policies in Tibet with his song.

Our colleagues in Freemuse report that in 2019 they witnessed “a clampdown on artists and other citizens who questioned Beijing’s dominant celebratory narrative”.

“Black Hat” By Lhundrub Drakpa
Translation by Bhuchung D. Sonam

On the heads of a sincere and truthful people
A black hat has been forcefully put on
For years and months under this black hat
They’ve suffered as if hell is on earth

A language that is more precious than jewels
Is hemmed in by a thousand insidious means
For years and months in this state
The voice of the six million Tibetans is gagged

For years and months the sun is clouded
For days and nights the moon is blackened
In this realm of strangled darkness
Lies the sorrow of the people of the Snowland

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This Week’s Online Events: Female Vocalists In Iran And Music And Protest

This Thursday, 12th of November, there are two online events that possibly can interest Shouts’ readers. The first event is a talk given by Nahid Siamdoust, as part of her fellowship at Harvard’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program. She will talk about “the ban on women’s solo vocals in Iran.”

“Her research project, “Women Singing: The Regulation of Solo Female Vocals in Iran’s Hypermediated Public Sphere,” investigates whether processes occurring in Iran’s hypermediated public sphere can drive the Islamic Republic to redefine its rulings.”

This event starts at 3:00 pm EST (8:00 pm GMT). This event is supposed to last 1 hour.

Register here: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_i0Iurp5WQJmv9PUIhQaP_w

Musicians On The Frontlines is a series of panel discussions, community events and concerts and this Thursday the organisers will be joined by interesting musicians from different parts of the globe:

“Allan Ballinger and Kenneth Long will be joined by Aaron Jaffaris and Byron Au Yong, creators of the Activist Songbook, and Ameen Mokdad, musician activist in Baghdad, Iraq. Together they will discuss music and protest. ​Read about the Activist Songbook here. Read about the work of Ameen Mokdad here.

This event starts at 4:00 pm EST (9:00 pm GMT).

Register here: https://www.cuatropuntos.org/musicpolitics2020panel.html

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A Protest Music Interview: Madara

The Manusmriti, a sort of a bible for Hindu people, divides the Indian people into categories based on their work and their social duties. This scripture is at least 3,000 years old but today, still, people in India have to endure this ancient system that now has a new term: caste.

Although discrimination on the basis of caste was legally banned in 1948 the problem continues in India today. But some people try to fight this old system and use their voice in a positive way. One of them is Madara, a rapper from an upper caste family who has witnessed how this outdated social system affects all aspects of the world he lives in.

Halldór Kristínarson: Your song Jaat Kya Hai focuses on the caste system in India. How have you personally seen this system affect people?

Madara: I come from an upper caste Hindu Family and of course I’ve seen discrimination in my family in about every other conversation. It’s almost a trend to call them names, use curse words to assassinate their character and suppress their voice. My grandfather and my uncles have been the biggest example whom I have seen treating lower caste people badly or bad-mouthing about them for no reason.

HK: What other issues motivate you to make music and pen down some lyrics?

M: Every issue I’ve personally experienced or read and which conflicts with my personal ethics or because of which I have seen people around me suffering. Like child marriage, colorism, racism, dowry, farmers suicide, education system, unemployment, prostitutes, etc.

HK: Has your music always been politically driven or made in protest?

M: No. I didn’t start my rap with protest lyrics. I’ve written many tracks on different topics as I don’t believe in sticking to a certain type of rap, rather I like to call myself a conscious rapper who writes on contemporary topics. It’s just that I’ve released only the political ones for now.

HK: Have you received any backlash or threats for the music you make?

M: Yeah a lot, I keep getting death threats every now and then but I’m habitual now. Everybody dies but not everybody lives.

HK: How is the protest music scene where you live? Are there many musicians and artists using their voices for good?

M: Protest scene here is not how we would like to imagine it to be honest. As per Law we do have freedom of speech in our constitution but reality is quite different. Most of the artists who want to speak up against the system, don’t, as they are afraid of the consequences.

HK: One of my favorite rap songs of 2019 was the banging Tukde Tukde Gang. Can you explain a bit what that song is about?

M: That song explains the faulty education system of India. If our ministers are holding fake degrees and not accepting it, how will they teach us? I was doing my research on social evils in India and I found out that the root cause of everything is education in which the government is investing very little and when someone raises their voice against it they’re called “Tukde Tukde Gang” but in reality it is the government who should be called that for using religion politics to break people.*

HK: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you? Specifically regarding your lyrics, are there any people who have made an impact on your work?

M: There are many, I love reading and hence in the field of writing I would like to mention Harishankar Parsai, Javed Akhtar, Kamleshwar, Piyush Mishra, Rahat Indori, Munnawar Rana, Paash etc.

HK: How have you been coping with this strange year of 2020? Are there any online live performances schedules for your global fans?

M: It’s been one terrible year all around. There are no online live performances as of now. I’ll start performing in 2022. I’m just surviving on my savings for now, using them to make my tracks.

HK: Thank you very much for participating. Is there anything else you’d like to shout from the rooftops?

M: Never stop questioning!

* “Tukde Tukde Gang is a pejorative political catchphrase used in India by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its sympathisers accusing their critics for allegedly supporting sedition and secessionism.” Taken from Wikipedia