World Music Network is pleased to announce the release of a very special Rough Guide: The Rough Guide To The Music Without Frontiers.The compilation album has been produced in association with Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), an international, nonviolent, and democratic membership organisation founded in 1991 at the Peace Palace in the Hague. Its members are indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories who have joined together to protect and promote their human and cultural rights, to preserve their environments, and to find nonviolent solutions to conflicts which affect them. UNPO remains committed to offering an increasing number of nations and peoples an entry point into the international community, to ensure their voices are heard, and to address the consequences of marginalisation.
Unrepresented and stateless peoples produce some of the world’s greatest music – music without frontiers. Produced in association with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization(UNPO), this Rough Guide celebrates the remarkable and diverse music of the indigenous peoples and minorities living in unrecognised or occupied territories around the world.
There is a good reason why most of us have heard very little Oromo, Balochi, Kurdish, or Basque music. The stateless often face enormous obstacles, frequently being denied basic political and economic rights, the freedom to travel, the ability to have their children learn in their native language in school among others. After all, if you are stateless, what state is actually going to promote your music?
Despite these obstacles, unrepresented peoples continue to produce some of the world’s greatest folk music. For the small Garfuna community in Central America, the questions in their music are profound, including ‘Who will speak our language when we die?’ Meanwhile, Palestinians living in occupied territories often face comments from members of the Israeli government such as ‘they don’t even have their own culture’, implying that if they don’t have a culture, ‘why do they need a country?’
Unrepresented peoples such as the Roma, Kurds, Corsicans, Uyghyurs and Tibetans face similar obstacles. Without state support for music academies, cultural centres, institutions of higher learning and the like, preserving music, and creating new art forms becomes a key part of their identity, a symbol of defiance against the pressures of assimilation, and one of the only ways to pass on traditions to future generations. While the stateless lack many means of promotion, their personal stake in cultural preservation has played a large role in creating some of the best music… without frontiers.