European Music Council
October 17, 2019
A Warm Thank you to all Artists, Speakers, Curators & Participants!
The World Forum on Music Team would like to thank you very much for your participation and contribution to the 6th World Forum on Music in Paris. It has gone by so fast and we sincerely hope that your attendance was useful, productive and thought provoking.

Many of you have been active on Instragram, so if you wish to have a short recap, the hashtag is #FiveMusicRights. You will find some pictures of the Forum on the Facebook page of the International Music Council here.
Thanks to all who could make this conference happen.
Your World Forum on Music Team
6th IMC World Forum on Music
5 Rights – 5 Continents – 5 Quotes
All pictures by Benjamin Fayolle
From 28 September to 1 October 2019 the global music scene met at La Bellevilloise in Paris, France, to celebrate the IMC’s 70th anniversary and its Five Music Rights.
The gathering of more than 300 participants from all continents coming from 61 different countries impressively demonstrated the power of music for social change, reconciliation, revolution, while exploring the values embedded in the Five Music Rights: freedom of musical expression, access to music education, musical involvement, access to training and facilities, just recognition and fair remuneration.

“Music saved my life and music saved my soul” (Arn Chorn-Pond, founder of Cambodian Living Arts)

In his opening keynote speech, IMC Music Rights Champion Arn Chorn-Pond gave a very personal insight into his experience under the Khmer Rouge regime, during which approx. 2 million people were killed and traditional music was widely extinguished. Chorn-Pond, having been to a child labour camp, where he was recruited to play Khmer Rouge propaganda songs escaped the camp and emigrated to the USA. He returned to Cambodia to create Cambodian Living Arts and to revive the music of his country. Chorn-Pond’s highly emotional and at the same time most natural way of telling his life-time story touched the whole audience just as much as the example of his music that he performed at the end of his speech.
“Involvement in music is many things to many people” describes curator Allin Gray, IMC Board member and Executive Director of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, the session on IMC Music Right no. 3. “For some, it is simply listening to or experiencing music; for many, it is participating in and expressing their own culture, playing musical instruments, singing in their own language or others, moving with and dancing to music. It is also related to the creation of original music and the preserving and development of musical traditions and, in many ways, to know music, to know about music and to have access to knowledge about music.” Voices from Africa, North and South America, Asia and Europe, younger, older, male and female, performers, organisers and advocates shared their experiences with the right for musical involvement with the WFM audience.
The following speakers contributed to this session: Arthur Gill (Pakistan), Sonja Greiner (Germany), Carl Jones (Ireland), Mary Luehrsen (USA), Mariam Obange (Kenya), IMC Music Rights Champion Tabu Osusa (Kenya) and Maria Claudia Parias (Colombia).

“Do not harmonize culture – that would be a very boring undertaking” (Alfons Karabuda, newly elected IMC President, President of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, session curator)

In order to have fair remuneration for all musical artists (IMC Music Right no. 5), there has to be just recognition of their contribution to the musical ecosystem, but, besides that, there needs to be consciousness about the value of music. It is value for artists, for listeners and for the society as a whole. – But how is this ensured across the globe? The concept of authors’ rights, including both financial and moral rights and respecting intellectual property, can offer models to secure income for creators and performers. The discussion also revealed persistent property rights issues with community-based traditional music, e.g. in Kenya. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for the global music sector, but all agreed that the respect of intellectual property and a related right system contributes to protect and promote musical diversity across the globe.
Panelists were Irfan Aulia (Indonesia), Wally Badarou (Benin/France), Vanessa Bertran (France), Solange Cesarovna (Cabo Verde), Naomi Pohl (UK) and Amber Watts (Sweden).
Croatia’s Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen-Korzinek and UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone confirmed the need of policy instruments such as the UNESCO 2005 Convention and their implementation at national and local level by both civil society actors and political decision makers.

“Developing music starts with the society” (H.E. Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation - ADMAF)

This session, curated by Jesse Boere, IMC Board member and Associate Instructor of Music at New York University Abu Dhabi,  offered an insight into the need for a rich diversity of proper facilities for musical artists to create and distribute their music (IMC Music Right no. 4), but highlighted also the challenges and barriers for musical artists to access existing facilities. Impressive initiatives that emerged to help overcome these are the OMEGA project focussing on training in entrepreneurship for musicians, coordinated from Turkey or a DJ academy for girls and women in Tunisia, organised by Future Female Sounds.
In her inspirational keynote, Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, philanthropist and founder of ADMAF, underlined the importance of joining forces to advocate for public funding and called on the responsibility of governments to ensure a prospering music life with proper facilities for all musical artists.
Presenters and panellists of this session included Emily Achieng’ Akuno (Kenya), Olfa Arfaoui (Tunisia), Alfons Karabuda (Sweden), Tia Korpe (Denmark), Elise Phamgia (Belgium), Frederick Rousseau (France), Alex Ruthmann (USA), Payam Susanni (Turkey) and Didier Zerath (France).

"I do not want to see music instruments hanging from trees under the name of peace." (Ahmad Sarmast, founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music)

Music in Afghanistan thrived for centuries; it found itself destroyed by the civil war in the 1990’s and its aftermath. Between 1996 and 2001, music was completely banned by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. As a warning, instruments were hanged from trees and musicians who disobeyed risked to have their hands cut off. Mr. Sarmast, founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), inspired the Forum audience with his strong believe in music as a force to achieve social changes and to transform lives – also the life of girls which is still not a given in many societies.
The session on IMC Music Right no. 2, the right for all children and adults to learn musical languages and skills, addressed a range of challenging social settings where this right constantly is at risk. Session curator Sheila Woodward, IMC Board member and Professor of Music and Director of Music Education at Eastern Washington University (USA), invited music coaches working with with young refugee/immigrant children in Australia, with prisoners in the USA, with survivors of a devastating earthquake in China, or recruiting a broad range of ethnic student populations into opera performance education in South Africa.
Presenters in this session were Mary Cohen (USA), Marina Gall (UK), Kathryn Marsh (Australia), Lungile Jacobs (South Africa), Sheila Woodward (South Africa/USA) and Shibin Zhou (China).

“When revolution calls, art comes out without thinking” (Ramy Essam, Egyptian singer)

… thinking what? one could wish to ask. Does this mean ‘Art comes out without thinking, because you just feel it’ or does it mean ‘Art comes out without thinking, as words can’t express your frustration about unfair political systems’ or does it mean ‘Art comes out without thinking about your own safety’? Ramy Essam from Egypt (“the voice of the Tahir Square 2011”, living now in exile in Finland) and Farzane Zamen (Iranian underground musician living in exile in Scotland) were both very vocal in pointing out that safety is not the first priority for artists in exile, but that creativity and recognition are much more important. Therefore, safe haven programmes such as Safemuse or the Artist Protection Fund are very important because they offer artists the possibility to create, perform, release, distribute. To live in safety could also, and much more easily, be reached by stopping artistic activities, by self-censorship; however, this is clearly not an option for Essam and Zamen, as they demonstrated with some forceful samples of their music.
Jan Lothe Eriksen (Safemuse) shared some cases of violation of the right for freedom of expression, IMC Music Right no. 1, as reported by Freemuse in their annual State of Artistic Freedom, including cases in Europe. Session curator Ian Smith, President of the European Music Council, aimed to unveil personal as well as professional impact of limited freedom of expression and the session demonstrated that even in 2019 there is a lot to learn about both freedom of expression and freedom of movement.
Ramy Essam and Farzane Zamen were joined by presenters and panelists Roufaida Aboutaleb (Netherlands), Jan Lothe Eriksen (Norway), Louise Mitchell (UK), Phloeun Prim (Cambodia) and Alison Russo (USA).

Wrap up

As a wrap up to the three extremely inspiring days, Silja Fischer, Secretary General of the IMC, interviewed the session curators about how they experienced the 6th IMC World Forum on Music. In a final keynote, former IMC President Frans de Ruiter connected the history of IMC with its today’s strong advocacy for the Five Music Rights and shared key impressions from the Forum. Outgoing IMC President Emily Achieng’ Akuno warmly thanked all partners, contributors and staff members who made the event a huge success.

And so much more…

The Forum kicked off with a festive Opening Ceremony which gathered IMC members and other Forum participants as well as event partners  to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the IMC.  This opening also hosted the 2019 Music Rights Award ceremony. Launched in 2009, the IMC Music Rights Awards are given to programmes or projects that exemplarily support one or more of the IMC’s Five Music Rights. The 2019 Award went to the Scoil Úna Naofa Violin and Orchestra Project (Dublin, Ireland).
Forum participants highly valued the special exhibition “Listening to the World. The International Music Council 1949-2019”, organised in cooperation with the Center of Cultural History of Contemporary Societies of the University of Versailles and the Institut Universitaire de France.
Prior to the WFM, the General Assembly of the International Music Council elected a new Board and a new President. Alfons Karabuda from Sweden, composer, President of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, takes over this prestigious and challenging position from Emily Achieng’ Akuno, Professor for Music and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the Co-operative University of Kenya . The full press release on the IMC General Assembly can be read here.
As a follow-up to the Forum, the IMC will produce 5 newsletters on the 5 sessions, which you will find in your inbox in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!
You may also wish to participate in the regional fora organised by IMC’s Regional Music Councils. Plans are underway for the next African Music Forum in Burkina Faso. The next European Forum on Music will take place from 4-7 June 2020 in Bonn, Germany in the frame of the celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary in Bonn.
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