Written by: Lauren Vukicevich
Imagine your favorite artist not being allowed to write or perform music anymore because their political views were controversial. It’s sometimes too easy to take our civil liberties for granted, especially when it comes to every day occurrences like playing or listening to music. Music is such a natural human tendency that it can be hard to imagine a place where it’s not allowed.
On March 3rd, people all over the world celebrated “The Right to Freedom of Artistic and Creative Expression” on what is known as Music Freedom Day. This annual event is gaining attention each year, leading to more and more participating countries! Some “speak” out with the music they play on radio stations, some dedicate concerts to the efforts.
At times in the US, some musicians have been harassed by our government and forced into censorship. This was more common in the 60’s when rock & roll was new and thought of by most as rebellious and taboo. Protest songs by artists like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon have been a strong influence on popular culture, which often involves government opposition. One recent example: public radio stations refused to play the Dixie Chicks after their lead singer criticized President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.
While this may seem like a breach of freedom to us, and it is, there are other countries where local musicians have been persecuted and even killed because of their music. Long-standing music traditions have been torn apart by government regimes, and people have been forced to suppress their inherent musicality. Music Freedom Day was created to raise awareness about the censorship still happening in today’s world. Really, it is an opportunity for countries to come together and express their freedom of creativity through song!
Music may be incorporated differently into every culture, but it is a part of all human life. We should remember to appreciate our right to express ourselves through music because it is such an important part of our lives! All people deserve the freedom to write, play, and listen to any music that they choose, and we should support others who are trying to gain that freedom.
To visit the Music Freedom Day website, click here.