Austin Dacey - Rock the Theocrats

September 26, 2011

Host: Chris Mooney

This coming October, in Kabul, Afghanistan—on a date, and in a location, that remain undisclosed—there will be a rock concert that's billed as the world's "first stealth music festival."

It will feature rock, heavy metal, and funk from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Iran.

Why "stealth"? In some of these countries, music is equivalent to political and religious subversion. Which is precisely why those of us who care about liberal democracy and secularism need to also care, deeply indeed, about music—and ensuring it gets out.

This week, Point of Inquiry spoke to an adviser of the Kabul event, as well as a longtime freethinker, and musician—Austin Dacey. He's head of the Impossible Music Sessions, which describes itself as featuring "the artists who cannot appear and the music that is banned in their homelands."

The purpose of the organization is to bring together musicians, producers, and audiences across cultures, space, and genres to share musical expression-and, enlarge its political potential.

Austin also happens to be a philosopher, author, and human rights activist. His books include The Secular Conscience and, due out next year, The Future of Blasphemy.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

The Impossible Music Sessions
The Central Asian Modern Music Festival

Comments from the CFI Forums

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It’s great that there are transgressive groups in those oppresive societies; however I hope they don’t take it so far that they get slaughtered.

Posted on Sep 28, 2011 at 12:41am by mid atlantic Comment #1

What was the name of that metal band?

Posted on Sep 28, 2011 at 8:50pm by monkra Comment #2

What was the name of that metal band?

They’re called Acrassicauda, and the other band is The Plastic Wave.

Posted on Sep 29, 2011 at 6:52am by Adam Isaak Comment #3

Good stuff. Thanks!

Posted on Sep 29, 2011 at 4:36pm by monkra Comment #4

This was a great episode.  I’m a music student, and one of my favorite areas of research is suppressed music.  It isn’t that often that my interest in both humanism and music directly collide, so I was thrilled to see the topic.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear The Plastic Wave on the podcast.  I first came across them when I came across an article on the Impossible Music project and was instantly enamored with the raw and emotional impact of their music.  Unfortunately, they seem to have broken up as The Plastic Wave and reformed as The Casualty Process.  As was mentioned in the podcast, Maral is no longer their lead singer, but they are now based in the US and are playing shows on the east coast.  It was mentioned that Maral would be appearing at the sound central festival - any idea who she’ll be playing with?  Will video of the festival be available?

Thanks again for the great show!

Posted on Oct 02, 2011 at 9:40pm by voxmachina Comment #5