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This week on Radio Discostan, we are honored to host this very rare collection of recordings from the personal archives of Afghan Records Gallery, tracing the borderless journeys of songs between Afghanistan and its surrounding regions:
"Considered as coming from the crossroads of Asia, Afghan music is often presented as a mixture of Indian and Persian influences. It is true that we find these ingredients in the kitchen but it would be forgetting a little too quickly that Afghanistan is also a land which saw the birth of great composers like Jalil Zaland, Nainawaz or even Ustad Shayda. Many traditional songs have become popular in neighboring countries to the point where for some of them it is no longer clear who started performing them. Artistic and popular expression doesn't care about damn borders, does it? The song Kamar Barik is the perfect illustration of these traveling melodies: composed in Tajikistan to illustrate a poem by Lahouti (Iranian), it was Afghan singers who probably interpreted it most; Ustad Biltoon or Zaher Howeida (who had great success in Iran with this single in the 70s) had it prominently in their repertoire. Jalil Zoland, former manager of Kabul radio and himself a great singer and musician, spent a while in Iran where he composed several pieces for quite a few well-known artists. Afghan singer Naïm Popal also recorded his first tapes in Iran with some famous Iranian musicians. In the other republics of Central Asia, many artists, both classical (like Leyla Sharipova) and pop (the Gulshan ensemble in Tajikistan) also used the Afghan repertoire to bring their personal touch to these pretty compositions. This non-exhaustive musical selection invites you to take a look at these transnational connections."
Afghan Records Gallery is the project of Bordeaux-based Julien Thiennot. He states: ' “My interest in Afghan music started around 2003. First, I was essentially listening to rubab, thanks to labels which used to issue records from Ustad Khushnawaz, Ustad Mohammad Omar, Khaled Arman, etc. In the same period by a strange coincidence, it happened that Ustad Gholam Hossein came in my native city of Reims in 2004. I was in the audience. It was a fantastic show, and I was impressed by this prestation that I started to dig more and more into this music. That is how step-by-step I finally discovered the unique sound of Radio Kabul productions and also the different folkloric music styles from the whole country.” The site’s collection consists of vinyl recordings from Radio Kabul and Radio Afghanistan musicians, vocalists and composers.