Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Posts tagged: Music


Hearts Turned Away from Music: Afghan musicians’ paths to exile

Fabrizio Foschini

A year and a half after the Taleban takeover, music has completely disappeared from Afghan streets, TV channels, radios, cars and wedding halls. It barely survives in more personal and subdued forms and volumes – inside a house with tightly closed windows or shutters, inside headphones on one’s smartphone. The world, and Afghanistan more so, […]

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Music Censorship in 2021: The silencing of a nation and its cultural identity

Fabrizio Foschini

Music and musicians once again face serious threats following Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taleban in August this year. Over the past two decades, the theory and practice of traditional Afghan instruments, as well as other musical forms, has seen a remarkable revival after the destruction of the country’s musical heritage during the 1990s, with skills […]

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An Afghan ensemble performing at the Lycee Istiqlal in Kabul on February 23, 2011. Photo: Fabrizio Foschini

War and Exile Through the Musicians’ Eye: Professor John Baily’s account of four decades of Afghan music (book review)

Fabrizio Foschini

 “Music is essential for the very survival of man’s humanity.” In the opening lines of his book ‘War, Exile and the Music of Afghanistan’, John Baily motivates his research with this quote from fellow ethnomusicologist John Blacking. For the author, who spent more than four decades researching and performing the music of Afghanistan alongside Afghan […]

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breakdance master class in Kabul

A Break(dance) from the Elections: The street hits the Kabul stage


As election chaos and fraught discussions over Afghanistan’s future weary even the most passionate activist, there is a fringe of Afghans only minimally concerned with politics who spend their time… breakdancing? Not the most intuitive choice for young citizens of a country where many still frown on music and dance. Or perhaps it is the […]

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Afghan Singers Fall Silent


IWPR, 24 March 2014 Most weddings are held without music again in many parts of Nangrahar province, reports Kabul-based IWPR, due to influence of the Taleban. Musicians struggle to survive and their profession is in danger again: as one musician relates: "Three years ago, we would go out to weddings in the districts. There were […]

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Guest Blog: The Recovery of Afghanistan’s Regional Music

John Baily

For some years, the Afghan music scene has been dominated by a new fast dance style which uses keyboards and other western instruments and developed in the Afghan diaspora at a time when music in Afghanistan itself was under extreme pressure. It looked like the new pop music was flourishing at the expense of the […]

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Afghanistan mourns Ghazal King Jagjit Singh’s passing and the loss of its own musical excellence

Naheed Esar Malikzay

On Monday 10 October 2011, Jagjit Singh, a legend of Indian music, passed away in Lilavati hospital in Mumbai. Hearing that heartbreaking news, Afghans have expressed their condolences and sorrows in different ways. After receiving several sympathy messages from friends and relatives, AAN’s Naheed Esar Malikzay reflects on how his music specifically and Indian music, […]

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Old Traditions and New Virtuosos in Kharabat

Fabrizio Foschini

On 14 June, the day marking the anniversary of both birth and death of the Afghan song genius, Ahmad Zahir, reflectors may have been pointed to his grave in Shuhada-ye Salihin, where commemoration and musical events took place. But not too far from there, in Kucha-e Kharabat, the musicians’ quarter in the Old City, another […]

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The Muhammad Omar everybody should listen to

In this Pashto Mashto blog, Fabrizio Foschini goes for a stroll in Kabul’s musical scene, according to his own, rather personal experience of it. I have always been a lazy student. When, on some Fridays, my ustad wakes me up shouting over the phone ‘Ahmad where the hell are you? Come, and today don’t bring your rubab! […]

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