News / Arts & Entertainment

Afghan Youth Orchestra Prepares to Play US Venues

Afghan Youth Orchestra Prepares to Play Washington and New York, Bigtimei
X
February 05, 2013 11:17 PM
In embattled Afghanistan, music is making an appearance after having been banned outright under the Taliban in the late 1990s. In 2010, the Afghanistan Youth Orchestra was created, the first orchestra formed in that country in more than 30 years. Today, its musicians are preparing their debut performances in famous American concert halls. VOA’s Brian Allen has more.
Brian Allen
In embattled Afghanistan, music is making an appearance after having been banned outright under the Taliban in the late 1990s.  The Afghanistan Youth Orchestra was created in 2010, the first orchestra formed in that country in more than 30 years.  Today, its musicians are preparing their debut performances in famous American concert halls. 

The Afghanistan Youth Orchestra performed for the Afghan community in Alexandria, Virginia, where the venue was intimate, the audience small.
 
But within days, these Afghan musicians will play in two famous concert halls: the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York.
 
Ahmad Sarmast, who founded the orchestra, says his group is ready to play on the world’s biggest stages.

“Our young kids are getting this opportunity in the very, very first days of their career as musicians," he said. "Everyone is extremely excited, and they are very much looking forward to this performance."

The group travelled from Kabul to the United States on a tour funded largely by the U.S. embassy in Kabul.  

When the Taliban took power in 1996, it banned music entirely.  

But since 2010, Sarmast has kept the small National Institute of Music in Kabul running.  The orchestra grew out of the school.  

“The entire idea of this trip, and the project from the beginning, was to show a different face of Afghanistan; to change the perception of Afghanistan," he said.

The musicians are between the ages of 10 and 22 and most are orphans or street children. The ensemble includes girls, who under the Taliban were not allowed to be educated after the age of eight.

Nazira, a cellist, says she's excited to play in America.

“This year is very good for us because we are going to perform in concerts in the U.S.," she said.  "We are at the music school from 8:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. and studying.”

On Monday, the orchestra was welcomed to Washington by Secretary of State John Kerry.

“So we’re happy to welcome you here as ambassadors of peace,” he said.

Now, the musicians are rehearsing for their big debut at the Kennedy Center.  Then it’s on to New York and Carnegie Hall, before returning to Kabul and a life full of music.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."