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Everyone intoxicated by jazz should be sent to an insane asylum?

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louis armstrong

The answer is NO! of course not! Jazz is so great! The above title is related to one of the most unbelievable attacks to music, the “Jazz intoxication measure”, at a time when drugs and jazz music were considered almost the same. In 1933 in the US, William A.Allen submitted a bill to the Washington State legislature calling for the creation of a commission to monitor the damage done to society by jazz. Indeed, he proposed that “All persons convicted of being jazzily intoxicated shall go before the Superior Court and be sent to an insane asylum”. Sad, but true.

Maybe this and many similar reports along human history are the roots for the formation of “Freemuse”, a global independent organization to “advocate and defend freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide”. I mean, it is known that sometimes (somehow) some musicians are censored or criticized because of their art, lyrics or content. We all remember the case of the Russian punk rock protest group, Pussy Riot, one of the most extreme examples of censorship known by the audience. But beside the censorship associated to a concrete country, for example China, Nigeria or Iran, where human rights are compromised in every way and not only in music expression, I never thought that we could need an international organization like Freemuse to defend music as a human right. But here they are. And it leaves me breathless.

Censorship is always there. Not only by the laws of the countries, but also by the millions of anonymous citizens who ban some opinions not in line with their thoughts. By those who insult those ways of expression that they don´t understand. By many people who say “This is not music”. We should stop for a second to remember that great composers like Verdi, Stravinski or Wagner have been respectively banned in Europe, Boston or Israel. Paul McCartney was banned by the BBC and blacklisted by Russians MP´s in 2003. Many videos of Madonna have been prohibited in several countries because of their “explicit” content. Nowadays, for example, musical instruments are not allowed in Iranian TV. And all over the globe, many musicians are being censored, prohibited, and criticized.

Here, you can find a timeline of some music censorship mainly in America. Just to have a look.

Freemuse defend music as a human right. They say: “Like all other human beings, every individual musician is protected by a number of human rights. He or she has the right to freedom of association, freedom of religion, to family and private life, to food, housing and education, etc. — all according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.All human rights are as important for musicians as they are for everyone else. However, two of these rights are of special relevance for musicians: the freedom of expression and the right to participate in cultural life. Together, these two offer a special protection of musicians against arbitrary censorship and persecution.”

Great project.


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