The Lyrics of Afghanistan

By: Karlee Hursong and Rachel Kinnett

Over the past thirty years, Afghanistan has faced the Soviet Union's invaion in the late 1970s, the civil war, and the Taliban's rule, resulting in living in darkness and despair. Finally, after years of censorhip, the Afghan Music Project is trying to bring back the musical culture by teaching music education. Throughout history, Afghan's have been exposed to, and influenced by, various different musical froms.

Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, established itself as the place for trained professionals to come and perform for royalty, at tribal, and at family celebrations. Kharabat Street is a place where musicains thrived in a gypsy culture, able to freely express their "art." Each home of the "musical ghetto" played a different style of music at all times. All the musical heritage in this site was nearly destroyed by war.(KH)

Under the Communtists rule, music was censored because it was unfit for the new government. While under the Taliban's regime, music was completely banned, and this law was enforced by the 'Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue.' They would burn instruments, destroy music centers, break music tape, and banned public performances. Anyone who broke this law was punished, sometimes with death. Women musicians were treated the worst. If and when the tried to play their music, they were often given the most brutal punishments.

Hope returned, with the fall of the Taliban, with the freedom to, once again, express themselves. And although music has been brought back to life, the music is still not what it used to be. Two UC Berkeley graduate students traveled to Kabul in the summer of 2005 and record folk musicians, creating an eleven song album of traditional Afghan music. They will sell the album, giving all the proceeds to fund youth music teachers in Kabul, especially younger women.(RK)

Children of Afganistan in music class

For more information and to visit our resources click the following links:
The Afghan Music Project‚Äč
Afghanistan Music
Today's Afghan Music