The Taliban’s Worst Nightmare: Young Afghan Rock Musicians

2013_0205_anim_concert_m[1]The last time that there was a music festival in Afghanistan was in 1975. So the Central Asian Modern Music Festival, held on October 1, 2011, showcased a young generation of musicians from countries in central Asia.

Sound Central, the name of the organization that brings together young musicians and bands throughout central Asia, sponsored this festival. Sound Central’s founder,  Travis Beard, is a former photojournalist from Australia. Beard moved into video journalism in 2007, founding Argus Productions, a company that provides services to artists in Afghanistan.

Three Afghan rock bands that performed in this festival are Kabul Dreams, White Page, and District Unknown.   District Unknown, Afghanistan‘s first heavy metal band, described their music by the following quote “we have got aggression, depression, and we need to speak out for each and every Afghan youngster who needs to speak.” District Unknown, a band of four men, shocked their audiences in 2010 with their own version of the Eurhythmics song, “Sweet Dreams.” The lyrics “some of them want to use you, some of them want to abuse you”, applies to the lack of leadership and corruption in Afghanistan’s government.

Kabul Dreams, a band of three musicians from three different ethnic groups, sing songs of solidarity, love and unity. All of them lived outside of Afghanistan during the Taliban years, but moved back after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Since each comes from a different region in Afghanistan, speaking different languages, they sing in English to express their message to the world.

White Page is a four piece band . All band members are students of rock music styles at the Afghanistan Institute of Music. They were one of the bands that performed at a Youth Festival sponsored by the Institute at NATO.

This YouTube video will provide an example of their music.

Barry Dwork, author and owner of Peace of Music, October 29, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Barry Dwork is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barry Dwork and Peace of Music with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.