Society

Uzbek Government Strips Pop Artists of Right to Perform Live

| by Amanda Schallert

Uzbekistan's government officials deemed the music of multiple Uzbek pop singers “meaningless” in a statement recently. It also barred the artists from performing live, demonstrating the totalitarian nature of the Uzbek government under President Islam Karimov.

The government condemned artists such as Dilfuza Rakhimova, Otabek Mutalhozhaev and Dilshod Rakhmonov and groups Ummon and Mango for not producing music that honored and exhorted the “motherland,” according to Radio Free Europe. 

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The Uzbek Culture and Sports Ministry wrote in a statement on their website that "(the artists’) songs do not conform to our nation’s cultural traditions, they contradict our moral heritage and mentality.”

Criticizing the artists’ music as "meaningless from musical and lyrical standpoints," the government agency, which controls citizens’ public performing licenses, took away the artists’ rights to perform in public.

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President Islam Karimov has led Uzbekistan since 1991, according to Big Think.

The censure of the pop artists reflects the overwhelming power of the Uzbek government, the lack of artistic freedom in the country and the blatant hypocrisy of its leaders.

Ironically, President Karimov’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, is also a pop star called Googooosha. Her most recent music video features her dancing seductively in front of a shirtless man, but government officials did not ban her from performing live.

Gulnara Karimova’s pop music apparently exhorts Uzbekistan, unlike the music of numerous other Uzbek artists.

Sources: Radio Free Europe, Big Think