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Egypt's Revolutionary Music, And 7 Other Revolutions That Turned To Song (AUDIO)

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Egyptian demonstrators sing anti-Mubarak songs at Cairo's Tahrir square on February 6, 2011 on the 13th day of protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED
Egyptian demonstrators sing anti-Mubarak songs at Cairo's Tahrir square on February 6, 2011 on the 13th day of protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED

On Jan. 25, 2011, one year ago today, Egyptian protesters began the 18-day uprising that ended in the ejection of President Hosni Mubarak.

The events in Egypt were just one part of the revolutionary actions of the Arab Spring that swept through Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Arab world. While these revolutions relied on the new technological capabilities of the Internet, they've also used a tool that would be familiar to revolutionaries from centuries before -- music.

The songs of the Arab Spring draw on hip-hop, rap, rock, pop and more, vividly capturing the frustration, anger, and hope of the countries they originate within. And in those countries, releasing such songs at all is itself an act of rebellion. El General, one Tunisian rapper, found himself detained and questioned after releasing two anti-government songs -- though public protest led to his release.

Whether to rally troops before battle in the American Revolution, to give voice to the people, as in Chile, music has often played an important role in historical revolutions. It hasn't been always used for the same reasons as it has in Egypt, however, but also to control the people during and after revolution, as in Soviet Russia.

Below, we revisit some of the revolutions that used music to advance their cause.

The Music of Revolution
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