Rock and roll in Kabul
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 11:40p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
Afghanistan isn't a country you'd normally associate with rock music, but an American, an Aussie and a Pakistani are trying to change that by opening the country's first ever school dedicated solely to the joys of rock and roll.
Fifty years ago, many Americans thought it was the devil's music, and even now many in Kabul are swift to condemn.
"It'll take time for people in Afghanistan to accept and allow women to learn music but the teachers and students were all men, and they used to harass us," says rock student Sahar Fetrat.
But in a restaurant just a stone's throw from the home of one of Afghanistan's most notorious warlords, three foreigners want to change that.
They're on a mission to teach young Afghans – boys and girls – how to rock.
Boston cellist Robin Ryczek, former Pakistan refugee Humayan Zardan – himself once banned from playing the guitar – and Australian punk rock guitarist Travis Beard are the holy trinity of rock in Kabul.
Their school has 20 students seeking refuge in rock, hoping to follow in the footsteps of District Unknown who used to wear masks on stage for their safety.
But now they’ve taken off the masks, the metal band is gaining acclaim both in Afghanistan and across the world.
"Rock music is emotional when I listen I forget my sorrows," says concert-goer Darwaish Khan.
And in a country which has experienced many sorrows it's not surprising that the Rock in Kabul festival is seeing more and more locals looking for that kind of release.
The audiences were once dominated by outsiders, but now they're split half and half between foreigners and Afghans.
Rock won't be starting a revolution here any time soon but it is on a roll.
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