Listen to the banned

Sreeram Hariharan December 24, 2010

Music has the ability to entertain you, inspire you, move you, touch you, pump you up and calm you down. It also has the ability to acheive goals beyond these; a cultural tool for social transformation. It is when rap is no longer a deviant genre but cry from the underbelly of impoverished youth, it is when voice of KS George and co in KPAC ganangal are not mere accompaniment to socio-political dramas but added force to the message it delivers, it is when Mississippi goddamn stop being a show tune and becomes the invisble force that gave the activist extra push to make that one step beyond the police line in Selma to Montgomery marches. That is also why, according to artist Deeyah is considered very dangerous by a lot people around the world which is why they try to find ways of silencing or limiting it.Music is a powerful form of expression and it is an emotional channel that transcends economic, social, ethnic, sexual and other barriers. Music has always been the stuff of rebellion, but under some of the world's harshest regimes singers are increasingly becoming the victims of censorship and threat as much as opposition politicians, journalists and writers. But their plight is often far less acknowledged.

When Lapiro de Mbanga wrote his most famous song it was in despair at the way he saw his country being ruined by a president making constitutional changes to stay in power indefinitely. When his fellow Cameroonians took to the streets of the major cities for four days of violent unrest in 2008, it was De Mbanga's song they adopted as their unofficial anthem. The lyrics of Constitution Constipée, criticising President Paul Biya as "caught in the trap of networks that oblige him to stay in power even though he is tired", earned its songwriter a prison sentence. De Mbanga was charged with inciting youth unrest and is still in prison in Cameroon.

Laprio de Mbanga and several other banned musicians from around the world fills in "Listen to the Banned" - a CD compilation of songs compiled by artist Deeyah and Freemuse. The compilation is available at :

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Every art form exchanges its

Every art form exchanges its elements, mutually influence each other. such reciprocations are required for the innovation, appellation and survival of them. Nevertheless, music is an abstract art form, it has no concrete elements in it. What it requires is responsive receiver. It has ability connect to receiver conditioned in any culture, tradition, history, political colour. Rather, music can break the cycle of old/worn out or rigid thoughts and initiate novel ones. It questions the establishment and corroborate the revolutionary voices (both in public and personal spheres). "Listen to the banned ones" - who think music is their way of life, whether you are listener or the artist.