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Initiative

A Banned Books Week 2019 Playlist

Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) contributes to PEN America's Banned Books Week with a curated playlist of banned songs. 

Some artists in this playlist became the voices of revolution; some now live in exile; some currently sit in prison; some were censored out of fear that their songs would incite race riots; and still others were assassinated by authoritarian regimes. Music has the power to unite people and move them to action, and this makes it dangerous to those in power.

  • “Djin” - Mashrou’ Leila
  • “Lettre au president” - General Valsero  
  • “Y Mi Negro Esta Cansao” - Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
  • "Trại phục hồi nhân phẩm (Re-Education Camp)” - Mai Khôi
  • "我愛台妹" -  MC HotDog
  • “Je t’aime moi non plus” - Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin
  • “Police State” - Pussy Riot
  • “Rumble” - Link Wray
  • “Strange Fruit” - Billie Holiday
  • “Kobani” - Ferhat Tunç
  • “God Save the Queen” - Sex Pistols
  • “Gracias a la vida” - Violeta Parra
  • “Çav Bella” - Grup Yorum
  • “Plegaria a un Labrador” - Victor Jara
  • “Zolf” - Mohsen Namjoo
  • "Fuck tha Police” - NWA  
  • “Смерти больше нет” - IC3PEAK
  • “8 April” - Ramy Essam

Read profiles of musicians-at-risk, including Mai Khôi, Mohsen Namjoo, and Chris Gera, on our stories page.

If you have any questions regarding this playlist and/or suggestions, please contact us!

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