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Chechnya bans songs deemed too fast or too slow


The beat goes on, but much of Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and even The Beatles’ back catalog could be off playlists in Chechnya after the Russian republic instituted limits on musical tempo.

From now on, “all musical, vocal and choreographic works,” will be subject to the new limits, the region’s culture ministry said in a Telegram post. Culture minister Musa Dadaev was quoted in the post as saying they should be between 80 and 116 beats per minute (BPM).

It was unclear how the limits would be enforced, but it could potentially rule out much of the modern pop pantheon, most of which would be too fast.

Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off,” and “Cruel Summer” are out, as are  Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and “Run the World (Girls).” However, “Anti-Hero” and “Texas Hold ‘Em” would just about make the grade.

The Beatles “Hey Jude,” would though, be too slow, as would the grandiose Russian national anthem, which is usually played at a tempo of 76 BPM.

Chechnya’s culture ministry said it had been carrying out “a huge amount of work” on the issue of compliance of Chechen musical, vocal and choreographic compositions with the “Chechen mentality,” when it made the announcement last week on Telegram.

“The musical culture of the Chechens was diverse in tempo and methodology,” Dadaev was quoted as saying. “We must bring to the people and to the future of our children, the cultural heritage of the Chechen people.”

This included the customs and traditions and “features of the Chechen character, which includes the entire spectrum of moral and ethical standards of life of the Chechens,” he added.

While Chechnya, a conservative Muslim-majority republic in the North Caucasus, has remained part of Russia after it waged two brutal wars for independence in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it has maintained its distinctive culture, language and traditions.

The culture ministry’s Telegram post added that the BPM limits had been approved by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who has maintained a tight grip on power in the republic since he became president in 2007.

A big supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin, critics have accused the Kremlin of letting Kadyrov get away with corruption, rights violations against women and repressions against members of the LGBTQ community.


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