Agates of Afghanistan: Ghazal, Rubab and Folk Music

Poppy Pickers in Afghanistan (Pan Hongyam)

Poppy Pickers in Afghanistan (Pan Hongyam)

The next time you’re taking a bus or pickup between Kabul and Jalalabad or Mazar-e-Sharif you will probably not hear this sort of music. What is all the rage today is global sounding dance music or hip hop, electronic beats and wild guitar and sax solos.  Nothing wrong with any of that per se, but the sort of music that comes your way in the third instalment of traditional Afghan music is fast loosing its urban (and therefore, money paying) audience.

The stunning string instrument, rubab, is heard at weddings and in the rural areas but is not used that often in pop music much longer.  The ghazals, sung in Urdu, Dari/Farsi or Pashto, by singers like Nashenas, Ustad Shahwali and Obaidullah Jan Kandahari are probably more popular with the older generations or western musical nuts like myself.

If you’re into World Music but are used to slickly produced Putamayo CDs (again nothing wrong with those) then this music may take some getting used to.  It’s rough and often raw with no acknowledgement that the world has been visited by the internet or man has gone to the moon and back.

As I’ve said many times before on this and other blogs, this is pure soul music.

Lap it up!


Track Listing:

  1. Madar-e-Roshini-e-Cheshma [Nashenas]
  2. Afghani Mahli (Rubab) [Humayun]
  3. Rasha jana (Pashto) [Rahim Mihryar wa Parasto]
  4. Main Na Booloonga [Ustad Shahwali and Sharara]
  5. Yara de Zre Hamraz me ye [Obaidullah Jan Khandahari]
  6. Ba Chashman [Shah Rasool Qasemi]
  7. Track 9 [Unknown]
  8. Rubab Music [Unknown]
  9. Ayee Saakin-e-Jaan-e-man Akhir ba Kuua Raftee [Rahim Ghafari Nizai]
  10. Track 8 [Nashenas]
  11. Saqe dase mastey gwaram [Nashenas]
  12. Track 4 [Wahid Qasimi]
  13. Rabab 068 [Unknown]


3 thoughts on “Agates of Afghanistan: Ghazal, Rubab and Folk Music

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