Uzbekistan’s pop police have banned several star musical acts for undermining the Central Asian nation’s “moral heritage and mentality” by being insufficiently patriotic.
Three pop stars (Dilfuza Rakhimova, Otabek Mutalkhuzhayev, and Dilshod Rakhmonov) and two groups (Ummon and Mango) have had their licenses stripped, which means they cannot perform in public. Uzbeknavo, the official association controlling Uzbekistan's lucrative pop music business, made the announcement on its website this week.
An Uzbeknavo meeting heard “criticism of songs that are not in line with our national spiritual values, our moral heritage and mentality,” the sternly worded statement said.
“It is our duty to praise the Motherland, rubbing its earth onto our eyes and praising its people and its happiness,” it explained.
Seven other performers received reprimands and were warned to get in line by July 1. Uzbeknavo evidently had patriotism on the agenda as it met to discuss celebrations of Uzbekistan’s 22nd anniversary of independence on September 1.
Uzbeknavo made no mention of Uzbekistan’s most famous pop star, however.
Googoosha – Gulnara Karimova, daughter of President Islam Karimov – performs an eclectic repertoire in Uzbek, Russian and English that is not noted for its patriotic content. It includes catchy music videos such as Round Run (where Googoosha sweeps sultrily through the Silk Road city of Bukhara), How Dare (where she’s seen gyrating in a dark room before a topless man in a chair), and a wistful duet with French crooner Gerard Depardieu.
It’s nothing new for Tashkent to set its sights against music: In 2011, Uzbek TV broadcast a documentary warning that rap and heavy metal are “satanic music” created by “evil forces” to cause “moral degradation.”