May Your Heart Sing

Burka Band
What we have here may be the ultimate tongue-in-cheek subversion. Who even knows if the Burka Band is female? Maybe it’s Afghanistan’s version of transgendered rock ‘n roll. Whatever the genre, please support their efforts. Whatever the truth is, here’s the promotional materials (with no corrections):

     Burka Blue comes into being during a music workshop in the state music school ‘Institute of Learning Music’ in Kabul in October 2002. The workshop is co-promoted by the Afghan Ministry of Culture.
Together with the band ‘a certain frank’ (Kurt Dahlke (Pyrolator) and Frank Fenstermacher), the drummer Saskia von Klitzing is also invited to participate. All three play together with the renowned German group ‘Fehlfarben’.
Two concerts take place as well as the workshop on pop-music instruments and modern recording methods. A small music studio is set up.
In the course of the workshop Saskia gives some drumming instruction. A young woman called Nargis who just happens to be present is so enthused, she decides to learn the drums.
Played on a drum, which had been hidden from the Taliban for over 6 years by another indigenous musician, the Burka Blue beat is the result.
The vocals are written to the track’s rhythm and are recorded on a cassette recorder in what usually serves as a kitchen in the Institute.
Nargis reads the vocals aloud and realizes a name for Afghanistan’s first woman’s musical group, the ‘Burka Band’ as the Afghan answer, but at the same time an ironic one to the western superstar – and the girl-group challenges.
2 young women spontaneously join in the project.
With their support, the Burka Blue video originates from the Institute’s kitchen and other ‘safe’ public places in Kabul.
Burka Blue appears on Gudrun Guts Monika Enterprises Label in Berlin on vinyl as a single together with the expressive remix by Barbara Morgenstern.
The Burka Band eclipses the summer media in 2003, appearing in the online edition of the German magazine Spiegel, Charlotte Roche’s ‘Fast Forward’ on viva TV and Yahoo’s opening page which leads to diplomatic irritations. The TV channel SAT 1 broadcasts extensive coverage in its evening news. The BBC and AFP and different European daily newspapers publish articles as does the world’s largest US music publication, Spin Magazine.

Sounds like they’ve gotten out and about quite a bit. More than Gates of Vienna does, at any rate. So if you’ve already heard them, enjoy the photo. If you haven’t’ make arrangements to buy the disc.

Meanwhile, enjoy the delicious victory that plays like a counterpoint to the whole story. The Taliban tried to make the music die and Burka Band is the flagship of their abysmal failure. Sure, the capture of yet another “third in command” Al Qaeda hotshot is good news, but it doesn’t cheer the soul. Burka Band makes your heart sing. Even if you don’t like rock ‘n roll. Or maybe even if you do, knowing how much it makes the Taliban gnash their teeth in the outer darkness every time they hear one of BB’s melodies.

Hat tip: Buzz Machine

4 thoughts on “May Your Heart Sing

  1. Go up to the post and click on “promotional materials” — that’s where I found the information.

    Then, go down to the bottom of the post and click on Buzz Machine. That’s where I found the picture and some information that took me to several other places and finally to the website that does their music (the first link).

    Isn’t that a great picture?? That’s the best part, I think.

  2. Do they always wear those things.

    I think its great that people are playing music in Afghanistan again. They were once known as great musicians.

    But I find the picture disturbing, sorry. Unless they are wearing it tounge in cheek. Its just deeply wrong to hide individuality like that. Its disturbing to dress so that a person’s humanity is entirely concealed.

    I’m just not with you on that part. But I say go to all Afghan chicks following their bliss. Thank God they are free now to do so.

  3. But I suspect that it is tongue-in-cheek, and for that reason subversive.

    Besides, they’re getting more attention than if they were three girls dressed in trash clothing, which would be very ho-hum and unoriginal.

    I hope they use other shades of blue –a whole wardrobe of blues — really ham it up.

    Think about it: if every Muslim woman started dressing like that all the time, instead of fighting it overtly, they’d be ridiculing the rules they’re forced to live under. A wonderful revenge.

    A judo move.

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