Uzbekistan bans five Uzbek pop acts for failing to praise the motherland

Gulnara Karimova

Acts barred from performing live because songs lack ‘patriotism’, a failing that could be levelled against the president’s daughter.

Five pop acts in Uzbekistan have been banned from performing live for failing to sing songs that «praise the motherland».

The performers had their licenses revoked by the national culture agency, Uzbeknavo, because their songs were deemed «meaningless from musical and lyrical standpoints» and «lack artistic value», according to a statement carried by the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti.

«Their songs do not conform to our nation’s cultural traditions, they contradict our moral heritage and mentality,» said the Uzbeknavo. «We should not forget about our duty to praise our motherland, our people and their happiness.»

The agency targeted the singers Dilfuza Rahimova, Otabek Mutalhojaev and Dilshod Rahmonov, as well as the groups Ummon and Mango, who all feature modernised Uzbek rhythms and a pop aesthetic.

Seven other acts were issued a warning and were given until 1 July to «eliminate creative shortcomings».

All aspects of life are heavily regulated in Uzbekistan, ruled by its longtime president, Islam Karimov. His daughter, Gulnara Karimova, also maintains a major presence in Uzbek life, and has recently been pursuing her own musical career.

In January, she released a duet with the French actor Gerard Depardieu, who has taken a liking to the authoritarian countries that once comprised the Soviet Union. She has released two albums under the stage name Googoosha.

Karimov’s duet with Depardieu Unlike the performers banned from playing live, Karimov’s songs, often love ballads with lyrics based on her saccharine poems, are mainly sung in English. The «motherland» has not featured in her songs. Her latest video, How Dare, centres on a half-naked man writhing in a chair.

Her father has ruled the central Asian country since 1989 and has been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including torture. In 2005, his government killed hundreds of protesters in the city of Andijan.

Gulnara Karimova has attempted to break into the global cultural elite, with her albums, fashion and jewellery lines. In 2011, organisers cancelled her show at New York fashion week following pressure from human rights groups.

A 2005 US diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks said that «she remains the single most hated person in the country».



Uzbekistan bans five Uzbek pop acts for failing to praise the motherland | World news |

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