Freedom songs for the Centre for Philippine Concerns

The Centre for Philippine Concerns pairs up with artists to spread the word on oppression factors in the Philippines

by Stefan Christoff

In the Philippines, music has always played a key role in social movements, from the internationally celebrated protests that led to the ousting of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 to more recent struggles surrounding political killings that have targeted union leaders and human rights workers (violence that has been tied to the current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an key ally of the Canadian government in Asia).

Artists in the Philippines have often been politically persecuted because of the important role that cultural workers play in the major social movements in the country. Under Ferdinand Marcos, poets, writers and musicians faced prison, and more recently artists including filmmakers and poets have faced kidnappings clearly linked to the government security forces of President Macapagal-Arroyo.

This weekend (Saturday, April 25, 2009 -ed) in Montreal, artists will raise awareness and express solidarity with Philippine social movements as well as the local struggles faced by migrants from the Philippines, namely Filipinos working in homes as nannies or house cleaners here under Canada's Live-in Caregiver Program.

One of the artists performing on Saturday night is Filipino folk singer-songwriter Levy Abad (see photo), a celebrated cultural figure within progressive movements in the Philippines and within the diaspora community in Canada (Abad is currently based in Toronto).

More at: Hour.ca - News - A song for the Centre for Philippine Concerns:

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