Traditions of the Ancestors brings to life the wisdom, history, traditions, achievements, and stories of people and cultures from around the world. Here is where we connect people to cultural artists who can share their work and their culture in a healthy and respectful way.
This product can be purchased from our partner, Traditional Crossroads Music.
Before its lands were crushed, its people scattered, and its music silenced by chaos and decree, Afghanistan overflowed with musical treasures, its lyrical instruments and haunting melodies as astonishing in their variety and uniqueness as the ethnically dense country itself.
These extraordinary untouched field recordings--raw and immediate, made on the spot in bazaars and teahouses and an empty hotel--capture the voices and rhythms of Afghanistan in its last years of relative peace.
Included here are a rich array of ethnic music styles in numerous languages; local regional masters and a star of national Afghan Radio; village amateurs and prized travelling professionals (including women wedding singers!). Recorded in 1968 by renowned ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin, this invaluable 2-CD vintage collection includes 40 pages of notes on Afghan music and numerous photos. In an effort to make these historic recordings speak to the needs of post-Taliban Afghanistan, where music can be played once again, but the political and economic conditions which promote culture are so threatened, Traditional Crossroads sought out two of the agencies still willing to work in the vacuum of policy and international aid that is present Afghanistan. The School for Hope is committed to building schools for women--three have already been built--and the IRC (International Relief Committee) was awarded one of the only major US government contracts to oversee relief in the country. Traditional Crossroads has agreed to donate 1 dollar from each CD to these Afghan relief efforts.
Even before Afghanistan descended into war in the 1970s, music was considered dangerous and often taboo. Mark Slobin nevertheless spent many months finding musicians and off-track venues in which to record them. For the first CD he focused extensively on ethnic groups in northern Afghanistan (Tajiks and Uzbeks), whose cultures have as many ties to tribes of the Central Asian steppe across the old Soviet borders as to the Pashtun and other groups dominant in Kabul and southern Afghanistan. He made these recordings just before modern roads had penetrated the north, mingling musical traditions.
For the second disc, he gathered music from southern ethnic groups (including urban music from Kabul and Herat), whose music has a Pakistani and Indian flair, as well as Kazakh and Turkmen groups dispersed across the country. Capturing the differences and connections between these groups, the sense of the sheer vastness of Afghan culture, the diversity and fragility of language itself (CD 1, track 8 features a song in Wakhi, one of the rarest languages on earth).
These landmark recordings reveal to western audiences an Afghanistan teeming with life behind the images of remote empty landscapes and urban tumult one often sees on the news: a land as rich in culture as it is poor in resources.
The complete album is available for purchase from our partner, Traditional Crossroads Music.
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