Afghanistan has recently been well known for the infamous war led by the US. But there’s another world in Afghanistan. The new episode of the series The Rough Guide to… aims to unveil this musical world. So here’s a surprising journey to the crossroads of Asia – a guide full of unknown treasures.
Afghanistan lies at the confluence of three cultures, where Persia, India and Central Asia meet. Although the country has been caught in thirty years of conflict, countless artists have effortlessly strived to ensure that the Afghan music scene has its place on the world map.
Some of the various regional differences that form Afghanistan’s culture are displayed on the album. The female singer Naghma brings a dash of Pashtun style on “Meena Dakhklo Sanga Kaygi”, while the Uzbek Rafi Naabzada teams up with Hameed Sakhizada, an ethnic Hazara, on “Sabza Ba Naaz Mea Ayad”.
Every track puts forward a specific musical genre but it’s Farhad Darya’s “Salaamalek”, recorded with German rock artist Peter Maffay. The enraged guitar riffs are the main surprise of the album.
The compilation also features one of the most popular musicians in Afghanistan, Ahmad Zahir, who died in 1979, aged 33 only. The one known as the Afghan Elvis performs “Leili-Jan”, a love song and one of his greatest hits.
As a bonus CD, Ahmad Sham Sufi Qawwali Group, a highly respected qawwali group, brings eight tracks in the typical sufi musical style.
Out today on the World Music Network.