Listen to the banned
You know Deeyah? She’s doing a great thing.
Now a project to recognise the contribution of some of the world’s most important protest singers has been pulled together by a woman who was forced to give up performing on stage because of threats made on her life. Listen To The Banned is an album including the work of 14 international artists, all of whom have experienced imprisonment, censorship, harassment or violence because of their music.
Deeyah, a classically trained singer born in Norway, of Pakistani and Afghan parents, had a burgeoning career in pop music when she had to leave Norway because of harassment and disapproval from hardline Islamic groups. She moved to the US and then the UK, but gave up the limelight when the threats and antagonism proved just as strong wherever she went.
She emailed me a few days ago to ask me to get the word out. Seriously! I’m all hero-worshippy.
Tiken Jah Fakoly, a singer from Ivory Coast who has been forced into exile, said: “Normally people get trophies for selling most records, but this CD highlights artists who fight for justice.”
Abazar Hamid, a Sudanese songwriter now living in exile in Egypt, said: “Listen To The Banned has empowered me to face censorship and let me trust on my music and feel I am not alone.”
Mahsa Vahdat of Iran said that she was encouraged by being part of the project. “I am honoured to be part of this, we are invisible and hidden voices that can impress the world and can elevate the feeling of life,” she said.
Pass it on.
Update: Links to purchase sites in different countries here.