5 July 2019 to 5 January 2020
Discover artists who have risked their lives in times of conflict for the music they love in Rebel Sounds, our powerful new exhibition at IWM London.
From Hitler’s persecution of swing and jazz groups to the ban of music in Northern Mali under Islamist rule in 2012, oppressive regimes have tried to erase forms of culture and expression. In spite of this, there have always been those willing to risk everything to protect their threatened culture.
Revealing how groups and individuals use music to resist, rebel and speak out against war and oppression, explore the significance of music to cultural and personal identity and how music has been used both as a weapon to fight battles and a means by which to defy the chaos of conflict.
Hear four unique stories of resistance using personal accounts, photographs, memorabilia and music, including Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Serbia in the 1990s and present day Mali. Drawing on specific moments in history, they profile the rebels who placed their love of music above their own personal safety.
Learn about the musical endeavours of German swing kids who chose to oppose Nazi ideology by playing and listening to jazz music, and Terri Hooley, who used the emergence of Punk during The Troubles to put Northern Irish music back on the map, while Songhoy Blues currently explore the lost culture in Northern Mali, despite being exiled from their homes and their music being forbidden under Sharia Law.
Rebel Sounds Live offers the unique chance to see some of these extraordinary individuals perform and take part in talks. Explore stories from the genres of Syrian Death Metal and Serbian Techno to African Desert Blues, with events taking place throughout our Culture Under Attack season, which reveal the realities of performing at risk of serious punishment, arrest or death.
Rebel Sounds and Rebel Sounds Live are part of Culture Under Attack, a free season of three exhibitions, live music, performances and talks at IWM London that explore how war threatens not just people’s lives, but also the things that help define us. Telling stories spanning 100 years, Culture Under Attack reveals why some try to erase or exploit culture, while others risk everything to protect, celebrate and rebuild it.