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Azagaia: Freedom of expression (interview)

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Uploaded on Aug 23, 2010

Freemuse interview with the rapper Azagaia from Mozambique - about freedom of expression for musicians in his country.

Produced by Freemuse in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August 2010. Interview, camera and editing by Mik Aidt.

Transcription of the video recording of 10 August 2010:

"My name is Azagaia. I am a rapper from Mozambique. I rap about social and political issues, basically."

(Excerpt from 'Combatentes da Fortuna')

"I am not afraid. But there is a lot of people who think that I should stop doing it, should stop doing this song [writing]. But I think that if we don't have this critical voice — or critical voices — in the society, the society will not develop. So, that is it.

Talking about self-censorship, well, I don't think [that I practise self-censorship]. I think that I have crossed the red line so many times, but this 'red line' is not something we should not say, it is something which people say that you should not say. But I think that I am talking about reality, the truth.

And because of that, people really sing the songs when I am [performing] at a concert. They sing the songs, they agree with me. They think that this is missing now, it is them who stand up for themselves, and talk for themselves too. I want to inspire them to do that. So I don't have a lot of self-censorship. I write what I think that it is, and then I tell it to the people. I tell it to the audience on the records. "

(Excerpt from 'Combatentes da Fortuna')

"In the radio, there are some songs that they simply don't play. Because... Firstly, we have the public radio [which are government controlled], and even the private radio [stations] are somehow connected to the Power. They are more free to play [whatever they'd wish to play] but they are not entirely free.

And talking about the musicians, the musicians depend on their live performances. We don't sell a lot of CDs in Mozambique. People don't have this culture of buying CDs. So the money that musicians make to live is from the shows, the concerts. And those who organise these shows are for instance mobile phone companies, and all those big companies that we have. They support the culture too. So, because they are connected to the Power, to the government, too, sometimes they just don't invite certain artists. They only invite the artists who they think will not give problems to the system. So, basically there is this fear of not having bread for you and your family, so that is why people don't talk much about social issues with a critical point of view."


Produced by Freemuse in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August 2010. Interview, camera and editing by Mik Aidt.

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