Music Returns to Afghanistan

Indie rock music in Afghanistan??


“We thought it was about time for Afghanistan to have its own rock band, ” says bass player Siddique Ahmad.  Meet Kabul Dreams, a band that is Afghanistan’s first and only rock and roll group.

Kabul DreamsThe three members of the band all hail from different ethnic groups: one is a Tajik, one Uzbek, and one Pashtun. “The reason we formed this band was to give a message to the Afghan youth, a message that they can live together,” Ahmad explains. The trio say their aim is to “express the voice and dreams of Afghan youth through their music.” The dominant message in all their lyrics is one of “unity, peace and love.”

With the political turmoil which gripped Afghanistan in the 1990s, all three members sought refuge in the neighboring countries of Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Iran, where they were influenced by the Western music they heard.  “During the years of the Taliban, we were away and one positive thing for all of us was that we had an opportunity to learn music,” says Ahmad. They mix Afghan rhythmic patterns with rock and roll music – and what’s more unusual, they sing in English.

But the continuing security threats in the country have placed restrictions on public gatherings and their performances. And in the absence of an organized music industry, Kabul Dreams faces difficulties in financing and producing their music.  Despite the challenges, the trio want to bring a musical revolution to the Islamic country, where playing rock music is considered too Western and provocative.

“We love our country and we want to change our young generation, we want to make something new,” says Ahmad.


Listen to “The dream of all my life”  and  “Sounds of Peace and Love

© Marc Gopin