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In Pictures
In Pictures: Afghanistan's musical journey
Unshackled after the fall of Taliban, Afghans once again sway to music - ranging from traditional to western pop.
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2012 22:40

Music is back with a bang in Afghanistan. After being banned by the Taliban between 1996 and 2001 for being sinful, it's flourishing again and helping the spirits of many battle-scarred Afghans to soar.

The Central Asian country has an ancient tradition of song, built on the rich culture of poetry. The Afghan music icons started blending the classical music with the western music, grabbing the attention of urban youth as early as the 1970s. 

From Ahmad Zahir - popularly known as the king of Afghan music - who sampled the melody of Elvis Presley's It's Now or Never, to Farhad Darya and the band Stars, experimenting with Rock and Roll techniques, elements of Afghan music started to blend with the musical sounds sweeping the world.

Even though the western styles have made inroads into the Afghan music, traditional music continues to flourish. Traditional instruments like tabla, harmonium, robab, daira and dilroba continued to rule and the familiar notes they produce dominate the musical atmosphere from Badakshan in the north to Kandahar in the south.

Teens in the urban regions may have turned to new music, to pop, rock and roll. They might hum Ahmad Zahir’s pop lyrics, based on the poems of Persian poets Hafez and Rumi, but music accompanied by the beats of tabla, notes produced by the elegant, lute-like robab remain a favourite staple.

At places, away from the cities, where access to television is limited, people still turn to the familiar sounds of Honarmanday-e-Mahali, the local singers who performed at weddings and other social gatherings.

Unlike the amateurs on the national radio -- Zahir Howaida, Mahwash, Haidar Salim, Ehsan Aman, Salma Jahani, Hangama, and Sarban among them -- these local singers followed the common regional practice of ustad, master, transferring his knowledge to students.

Located on the crossroads between many trade routes, Afghan traditional music has a long history of its own and had over the years already incorporated elements of Persian, Hindi, and Central Asian techniques to produce ever more diverse regional varieties. 

As such, no wonder even the Taliban rule became an era of discovery, in terms of culture and music. Those who could practice in secret and survive the onslaught of the terror continued to have a firm grasp of the country’s traditional music and those who could make it outside the country took the Afghan music to an altogether different level. Afghan music reached far and wide.

And the children, born into war were suddenly exposed to everything from the electronic music of Prodigy and the “Hard-Knock Life” of Jay-Z, to the shock rock of Marilyn Manson.

With their parents they would hear the pervasive sounds of Ahmad Zahir's ruminations on an illusive dark-eyed love, while with their friends they would listen to Thom Yorke's anti-hero anthems.


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
The Afghan National Institute of Music in Kabul includes a youth orchestra, chorus and wind ensemble


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Farhad Darya, whose "Salaam Afghanistan" was the first song broadcast on Afghan radio after the fall of the Taliban, performs at Kabul's Amani Lycee


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Blues rock band Morcha ("Ants"), founded in Herat province, performs in Kabul


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Stores in Kabul's shahr-e-naw commercial centre sell both traditional and Western instruments


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
The lute-like robab is a staple of classical Afghan music


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
A robab-maker in Kabul assists a customer in tuning the instrument


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Bootleg stores, like the "Bahar Music Centre" in Kabul, are where many young Afghans have discovered both Afghan and international acts


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
"The White Page" is one of several bands in Afghanistan's emerging rock music scene


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Afghan pop artists in the 1970s first introduced Western elements and instruments to the nation's music scene


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Khalil Dudaz, in the tradition of local singers called Honarmanday-e-Mahali, plays at a private gathering in Kabul


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
The tabla, a popular Indian percussion instrument, has been long considered a staple of Afghan music


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music can study both Western and traditional instruments


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Formal education of music in Afghanistan dates back to 1924, when a music school was added to the military college


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Music was banned in Afghanistan during five years of Taliban rule


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
The Afghan Youth Orchestra, which mixes both Western and Afghan instruments, was the first to be founded in the nation in 30 years


Sulyman Qardash/Al Jazeera
Traditional Afghan music is transmitted by an ostad, or master, who passes on his knowledge to students



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captions:
The Afghan National Institute of Music in Kabul includes a youth orchestra, chorus and wind ensemble;*;Farhad Darya, whose "Salaam Afghanistan" was the first song broadcast on Afghan radio after the fall of the Taliban, performs at Kabul(***)s Amani Lycee;*;Blues rock band Morcha ("Ants"), founded in Herat province, performs in Kabul;*;Stores in Kabul(***)s shahr-e-naw commercial centre sell both traditional and Western instruments;*;The lute-like robab is a staple of classical Afghan music;*;A robab-maker in Kabul assists a customer in tuning the instrument;*;Bootleg stores, like the "Bahar Music Centre" in Kabul, are where many young Afghans have discovered both Afghan and international acts;*;"The White Page" is one of several bands in Afghanistan(***)s emerging rock music scene;*;Afghan pop artists in the 1970s first introduced Western elements and instruments to the nation(***)s music scene;*;Khalil Dudaz, in the tradition of local singers called Honarmanday-e-Mahali, plays at a private gathering in Kabul;*;The tabla, a popular Indian percussion instrument, has been long considered a staple of Afghan music;*;Students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music can study both Western and traditional instruments;*;Formal education of music in Afghanistan dates back to 1924, when a music school was added to the military college;*;Music was banned in Afghanistan during five years of Taliban rule;*;The Afghan Youth Orchestra, which mixes both Western and Afghan instruments, was the first to be founded in the nation in 30 years;*;Traditional Afghan music is transmitted by an ostad, or master, who passes on his knowledge to students Daylife ID:
1345014614160
Photographer:
Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash;*;Sulyman Qardash
Image Source:
Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Music in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistanen-usAl Jazeerafeedback@daylife.com10Wed, 15 Aug 2012 07:10:33 GMTWed, 15 Aug 2012 08:44:27 GMT http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=04BI5wY6iw5wO

The Afghan National Institute of Music in Kabul includes a youth orchestra, chorus, and wind ensemble

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=04BI5wY6iw5wOSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

The Afghan National Institute of Music in Kabul includes a youth orchestra, chorus, and wind ensemble

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=04v39P11r98nz

Farhad Darya, whose "Salaam Afghanistan" was the first song broadcast on Afghan radio after the fall of the Taliban, performs at Kabul's Amani Lycee

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=04v39P11r98nzSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Farhad Darya, whose "Salaam Afghanistan" was the first song broadcast on Afghan radio after the fall of the Taliban, performs at Kabul's Amani Lycee

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0eXh7v85GKbfk

Blues rock band Morcha ("Ants"), founded in Herat province, performs in Kabul

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0eXh7v85GKbfkSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Blues rock band Morcha ("Ants"), founded in Herat province, performs in Kabul

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0bTxbjad4mfoD

Stores in Kabul's shahr-e-naw commercial centre sells both traditional and Western instruments

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0bTxbjad4mfoDSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Stores in Kabul's shahr-e-naw commercial centre sells both traditional and Western instruments

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=03Gd7Ka6jE8Yy

The lute-like robab is a staple of classical Afghan music

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=03Gd7Ka6jE8YySulyman QardashAl Jazeera

The lute-like robab is a staple of classical Afghan music

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0bEP1sY7mWfjg

A robab-maker in Kabul assists a customer in tuning the instrument

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0bEP1sY7mWfjgSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

A robab-maker in Kabul assists a customer in tuning the instrument

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0a9h2tP8mNgNQ

Bootleg stores, like the "Bahar Music Centre" in Kabul, are where many young Afghans have discovered both Afghan and international acts

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0a9h2tP8mNgNQSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Bootleg stores, like the "Bahar Music Centre" in Kabul, are where many young Afghans have discovered both Afghan and international acts

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=026NbjJ1GK9Zg

The White Page is one of several bands in Afghanistan's emerging rock music scene

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=026NbjJ1GK9ZgSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

The White Page is one of several bands in Afghanistan's emerging rock music scene

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=014aaDK23ecxb

Afghan pop artists in the 1970s first introduced Western elements and instruments to the nation's music scene

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=014aaDK23ecxbSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Afghan pop artists in the 1970s first introduced Western elements and instruments to the nation's music scene

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=04xweCQcr1dTE

Khalil Dudaz, in the tradition of local singers called Honarmanday-e-Mahali, plays at a private gathering in Kabul

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=04xweCQcr1dTESulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Khalil Dudaz, in the tradition of local singers called Honarmanday-e-Mahali, plays at a private gathering in Kabul

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=07OdeuwfaEfkn

The tabla, a popular Indian percussive instrument, has been long considered a staple of Afghan music

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=07OdeuwfaEfknSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

The tabla, a popular Indian percussive instrument, has been long considered a staple of Afghan music

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=08EJaQ71smfLb

Students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music can study both Western and traditional instruments

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=08EJaQ71smfLbSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music can study both Western and traditional instruments

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=033b11e57o7Yf

Formal education of music in Afghanistan dates back to 1924, when a music school was added to the military college

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=033b11e57o7YfSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Formal education of music in Afghanistan dates back to 1924, when a music school was added to the military college

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=03lGeDRfjp0rj

During the five years of Taliban rule, music was banned in Afghanistan

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=03lGeDRfjp0rjSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

During the five years of Taliban rule, music was banned in Afghanistan

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0aVxbP350g120

The Afghan Youth Orchestra, which mixes both Western and Afghan instruments, was the first to be founded in the nation in 30 years

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0aVxbP350g120Sulyman QardashAl Jazeera

The Afghan Youth Orchestra, which mixes both Western and Afghan instruments, was the first to be founded in the nation in 30 years

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0cFn72zfFG2rJ

Traditional Afghan music is transmitted by an ostad, or master, who passes on his knowledge to students

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Music-in-Afghanistan?image_id=0cFn72zfFG2rJSulyman QardashAl Jazeera

Traditional Afghan music is transmitted by an ostad, or master, who passes on his knowledge to students



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