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Norwegian Embassy website


Listen To The Banned

Listen To The Banned, a new album put together by international organisation Freemuse and the Norwegian-born artist Deeyah to promote freedom of expression for musicians, is out now.

Freedom of speech is an ongoing debate, but the freedom of speech within music is very often left in silence - leaving behind tortured, jailed, exiled and censored musicians according to Freemuse. A Guardian review describes the record as “an album of hope”, and the collection consists of 14 international artists, all of whom have experienced imprisonment, censorship, harassment or violence because of their music.

“This is a collection of songs from artists around the world who have faced censorship or had their music banned,” explains Deeyah. ” These artists and other like them in the different corners of the world must have the right to exist and freely express their feelings and opinions through their art. We cannot allow our freedom of expression to be compromised. Music must not be silenced.”

Deeyah started her music career at the age of 7, and her big inspiration was her father and his engaging work to promote Pakistani music in Norway. When she was 15 she released her debut album under the name Deepika where she mixed Norwegian jazz with the classical Pakistani tunes. After her second album, Deeyah received threats from conservative groups within her local community. She then decided to move and continue her career under the name Deeyah in the US, then later in the UK, but gave up the spotlight as moving didn’t stop the harassments.

While handling her troubles, Deeyah came across the Freemuse group, an international organisation dedicated to protecting musicians and composers’ right to freedom of expression. The amazing back stories of the different artists and their unique musical skills gave her the idea and inspiration to compile and co-produce an album with them. The project lasted for two years, and culminated in a strong and meaningful musical piece.

The album Listen To The Banned is available at to purchase online and you can read the Guardian review here.


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