Afghanistan: Music is making a comeback

4 July 2012

After decades of civil war and the Taliban’s ban on music, Afghanistan is trying to resuscitate music, and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music is one avenue toward that goal, reported Zia Ur Rehman in July 2012.

Many musicians fled the country during the Taliban’s crackdown, but now some are returning home.

“After the fall of the Taliban regime (in 2001), many Afghan musicians returned from lives as refugees in neighbouring Pakistan and other countries and started working again without any fear,” Wafa told Zia Ur Rehman of Central Asia Online.

One returnee was Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, who returned from Australia and opened Afghanistan National Institute of Music at the site where his musical education began as a boy.

“For more than 20 years, children couldn’t learn music in Afghanistan,” Sarmast is quoted as saying in the Central Asia Online article.

The institute is not the first music school in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Education established the School of Fine Arts in 1973 in Kabul, but the school had a chaotic history. It was repeatedly shelled and looted by warring mujahedeen groups who would use expensive musical instruments for kindling and as ammunition cases, caretakers said.

Afghanistan National Institute of Music students and recent graduates have formed a rock band named White Page, which plays a mix of their own music and songs from other groups.

“Our country has a long legacy of music and poetry, and now the young generation is trying to revive it again,” Rashed Afzali, a member of the band, told Central Asia Online.

Zia Ur Rehman is a journalist and social researcher associated with Central Asia Online and Weekly Hum Shehri and his writes up also appears in The News, Jamestown Foundation, New York Times, The Friday Times, Himal South Asian and Counter Current. His primary coverage focus has been on conflict and security issues in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and FATA.

Photo: by the author

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Central Asia Online – 2 July 2012:
Afghanistan revives music culture




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