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Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan (PG) + Introduction

Two men sat outside playing instruments

This award-winning documentary was made for the BBC in 2002, just after the fall of the Taliban. Directed by Simon Broughton and filmed in Kabul, Peshawar (Pakistan), and Geneva (Switzerland).

The film examines the effects of five years of total suppression of music and the thirst for its return after the Taliban. It also charts 25 years of crossfire between music and politics in Afghanistan from before the Soviet occupation to the defeat of the Taliban, largely through interviews with Afghan musicians and music lovers. Now the Taliban are back in power, the output is bleak for the country’s musicians. Director Simon Broughton, editor in chief of Songlines magazine and Katherine Schofield, Senior Lecturer in South Asian Music and History at King’s College London, introduce the film by bringing the story up to date.

After the screening, there is a concert, Songs of Hope: A Benefit Concert for Afghanistan, in our Hall. 

Tagged with: Cinema

UK 2002 Dir Simon Broughton 59 min

Katherine Schofield is editor of two volumes of essays and Her latest book, Music and Musicians in Late Mughal India: Histories of the Ephemeral, 1748–1858, is out in 2022.

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