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United Kingdom: Film on Mali music ban leads to new fund

20 November 2015

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Freedom of expression campaigners Index on Censorship and the producers of the documentary film ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile’ have launched a Music In Exile Fund along with a song playlist and a series of articles about music and censorship.

The aim of the Music In Exile Fund is to support musicians facing censorship globally in dangerous and difficult conditions with this structured programme providing training, development and support. Initially, this will happen by contributing towards Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship, a year-long structured assistance programme to support those facing censorship, where the funds will be used to support at least one musician or group nominated in the arts category of the awards.

The fund was launched at the European premiere of the documentary film They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile at the London Film Festival on 13 October 2015. The feature-length documentary follows musicians in Mali after the 2012 jihadist takeover during which music was outlawed.

“For the two years that followed the ban on music in Mali, I filmed with musicians on the ground, witnessing their struggles and learning what they needed in order to survive as artists. The idea for this fund has grown directly out of those experiences. When faced with censorship, musicians across the world need our support. We are thrilled to be partnering with our long-time collaborators Index on Censorship to launch this fund,” explained Johanna Schwartz, director of ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First’.

On 20 November 2015, 16 donors had raised £1,056 for the fund.

» More information about the Music in Exile Fund

» Home page of the film They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile


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Playlist of 15 songs
One band’s story featuring heavily in the film is Songhoy Blues. They are one of 15 musicians and bands featured in a Music In Exile Fund playlist which is Index on Censorship’s celebration of “music that challenges bans and persecution”.

» More information about the playlist

» Listen to the playlisted music on youtube.com

Songhoy Blues. Photo: Andy Morgan
Songhoy Blues. Photo: Andy Morgan

Article series on music and censorship
Index on Censorship has compiled a reading list of articles that have appeared in the magazine Index on Censorship since 1982 and deal with censorship and music. They are offering these articles — which are normally held behind a paywall — for free on www.indexoncensorship.org



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