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In Uzbekistan, Everyone's A Pop Critic, Including The Government

A scene from Ummon's video for the song "Yo'q"
A scene from Ummon's video for the song "Yo'q"
In a statement on its website, Uzbekistan's Culture and Sports Ministry has announced a ban on "meaningless" songs that fail to "praise the motherland."

In a rather insensitively worded ruling, the music of pop groups Mango and Ummon and singers Dilfuza Rahimova, Otabek Mutalhojaev, and Dilshod Rakhmonov were condemned as being "meaningless from musical and lyrical standpoints." (Ouch!)

They were stripped of their performing licenses, which are issued by an agency within the ministry, Uzbeknavo, and which are needed in order to perform in public in Uzbekistan.

Says the ministry:

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

Seven other performers were issued "harsh warnings" and given a deadline of July 1 to eliminate what the ministry euphemistically calls their "creative shortcomings."

Unsurprisingly, the ruling does not apply to the musical oeuvre of the Uzbek pop star Googoosha, also known as Gulnara Karimova, also known as the daughter of authoritarian Uzbek President Islam Karimov, whose most recent music video, "How Dare," features her gyrating sexily to a thumping beat in front of a half-naked man in a chair who appears to be in some sort of distress:

Perhaps Mango and Ummon and all the others should count their blessings, though. As RIA Novosti points out:

Popular folk singer Dadakhon Khasanov, who penned a song about the government’s violent crackdown on a popular uprising in 2005, was given a three-year suspended prison sentence in 2006 and has not been allowed to perform in Uzbekistan since.

-- Grant Podelco

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