Afghanistan: Sahar Afarin

Farhad DaryaAiab Gul DeishadAziz GhaznawiBaktash KamranFazl-u-Rahman WahdatGhazal AhmadiNairezSafdar TawakoliSahar AfarinZhakfar HussainiClick to go to main page of 'The cage is singing'  

Sahar Afarin is an up-and-coming star. She had her national break-through in 2006 when she recieved the honourary titles ‘Artist of Radio Television Afghanistan’ and ‘Golden Star of National TV’.

Click on the photo two times to start the video.

In this interview the 21-year-old singer explains how she has been discouraged from music due to pressure from many sides.


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Video interview duration: 2:51 minutes.

The interview was prepared and edited by Samay Hamed in Kabul in Afghanistan in 2006-2008. Post-editing by Mik Aidt/Freemuse. Signature music: Safdar Tawakoli.


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Click to read more about music censorship in Afghanistan
Transcription of the video interview

“I am Sahar Afarin – the Artist of Afghanistan Radio & TV.
I newly started singing, but actually I have been interested in music since childhood.
My father has encouraged me a lot.

Some of my family members didn’t want me to be a singer because of my young age and (because they thought) that I was not old enough to start with music. They said I should just concentrate on my school lessons. So the reason that my family was against itwas that I should finish the education first, and then I could do music.

After I had had my debut performance on Afghanistan’s national tv I generally received very positive feedback, but some people hindered me… some of our relatives… because some of the people don’t like music so much. Therefore they hindered me and asked me not to continue with music because nobody would be appreciating it.

The situation is not good for me here, because when I am walking in the streets I am being ridiculed by the people who know me – and being disturbed by them. Therefore I always have to be accompanied by my father, and I am hiding myself, and masking myself.

Because we have such a closed community, I have to cover my face with a veil and only my eyes are visible. But even so, the people who recognise me disturb me and say: “There is the girl who is singing on national tv!”
Besides that, after my first concert on national tv when I was going to school my classmates asked me:
‘How did you become a singer?’
‘Who did encourage you?’
‘Did you have a family or not?’
They thought I don’t have a family.

A few of my classmates encouraged me to continue, but mostly they hindered me and said: ‘being a musician is not good!’
And they were asking the teacher about music, and the teacher was replying: ‘Music is very bad! …because it is not good for a woman that her voice is heard by the men because we are Muslim, and a man should not hear the voice of a woman!’

I have been listening to them, but I know that music is good and that the path that I am following is the proper way, and I never think that I am doing a bad job.”

This interview is a part of the Freemuse Special Report, ‘The cage is singing’

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Related reading on the internet

Times Online – 12 March 2008:
‘Teenager wants to be Afghan pop queen’


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