Afghanistan is known for the sound of violence — but its first rock band Kabul Dreams is making waves too. The band’s lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Sulyman Qardash spoke with about young Afghans connecting to the world via internet and music, blasts as inspiration — and girls at their concerts: How did Kabul Dreams begin? I was always fascinated by music and listened to different kinds. Nirvana inspired me a lot. During the Taliban’s days, i was living in Uzbekistan and went to a music school there. I always nurtured the dream of a rock band of my own — this became a reality after i returned to Kabul in 2008. I met Siddique and Mustaba, bassist and drummer of our band, who were producing jingles for local TV and radio. I shared my dream with them. Thankfully, they supported me. The next day, i bought a guitar, set up a rehearsing room, we practised and were ready with our own band. Success came after we gave our first international performance in Delhi at a South Asian Bands festival. There was no looking back. What response did you get in Afghanistan? We performed for the first time in Kabul inside a small tent! Around 50 people turned up. We were extremely scared and excited. But the reaction was better than we expected. After the show, people asked us about our music. It was a completely new experience for them. They’d go back home and search our musical style on the internet. We were encouraged. Over the years, our band’s become popular. We’ve been performing constantly at college and public shows. Now 400-600 people come to our concerts — they even sing our songs with us. We did get some life threats and comments like we’re against our religion, etc. But we guard our movements very carefully. How popular is western music in Afghanistan? Music, movies and internet are very popular in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul. Compared to 2006-07, we have good internet connections in mobile devices also now. Youngsters especially rely heavily on internet — they’re getting hooked to the world, courtesy social media. Similarly, Indian music is very popular in our country. It’s encouraging that people are showing loads of interest in all kinds of music these days, after years of silently bearing the pains of war that stopped music altogether. Why have you named your new album Bomb Blast? We, the people of Afghanistan, live under the shadow of bombs every moment of our lives. A recent explosion close to my house created panic all around. That inspired me to write a song on an individual’s feelings when such incidents rock a city. Life is not certain for an Afghan who doesn’t know what will happen to him the next moment — there are times i’ve been walking with explosions happening just 30-40 metres away from me. This is experienced by each and every Afghan. We’re not scared or bothered about our own lives now but we want to live every moment of life, desiring the well-being of loved ones. So, our themes are mostly about love, friendship and relationships. Are girls allowed at your concerts? Of course girls are allowed — you can’t stop anyone from listening to songs, can you?Tags: concert, movie, music, tv
Of course girls are allowed — you can’t stop anyone from listening to songs, can you?
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