The Age newspaper. Melbourne, Australia. Sat. 5, January 02


Voice of a Nation:
Afghan singer
and musician,
Farhad Darya

Singing to heal a war-torn nation

On November 13, after the fall of the Taliban, the first song to be played on Radio Afghanistan was Beloved Kabul by Afghan singer and musician Farhad Darya.

Yesterday, Darya sat in a lounge-room in Mulgrave and spoke of the power of music, how he hopes it can unite the people of Afghanistan after two decades of war and oppression.

"Music is the strongest weapon today in Afghanistan because one can deliver a message as far as you want it to go," said Darya, who has lived in exile in the United States since leaving his homeland in 1990 under the Taliban, music was forbidden but Darya said people still risked their lives to play his music.

He aims to break down the differences between Afghanistan's ethnic groups by taking different regional sounds and songs and combining them to make his own sound.

"My music doesn't belong to one side, I share my music with all Afghans. Everyone shares through my music," he said.

Darya's mission is to tell the world about the Afghanistan that existed before the past two decades of occupation and civil war.

"Today I travel around the world, day by day, city by city and stage by stage to communicate to the world, to show the original face of my people," he said.

"The world thinks of us in a weird way: killing, starving, dying, and ashes, that's all they think of us."

Darya was born in 1962. During the first year of Soviet occupation he used music as a form of resistance to the invasion.

"I decided to stand next to my people for their rights and for their hopes. I decided to voice their words," he said.

He began to record patriotic Afghan folk songs and traditional music and released more than 15 albums between 1980 and 1990. He has since released 13 albums in exile.

Now on the Australian leg of his world tour, Darya will perform at the Camberwell Civic Centre tonight. Money raised from the concert will be donated to AUSTCARE's Afghan Emergency Appeal.

Darya is an admirer of Australia's Aboriginees music and the works of John Williamson.
He hopes to return to Afghanistan in the near future but will wait until the country stabilizes.
"I will return when I could stay there as a free human being and as a musician. I'm needed there," he said.

The Age newspaper
Melbourne, Australia


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