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Afghanistan: Female Musicians of Herat

Various Artists
Afghanistan: Female Musicians of Herat

In Afghanistan, gender ideology profoundly affects musical life, as nearly all musical activity is segregated between women and men. Women perform primarily in small groups in domestic contexts, especially at private gatherings, weddings, and other rites of passage. The city of Herat was known for its professional female musicians, who had no parallels elsewhere in the country.

These 1970s recordings of women and children singing love songs, lullabies, and melodies based on traditional quatrains (chahârbeit), accompanying themselves on large frame drums (dâireh), tabla, and Indian portable harmonium, capture a time before the civil wars and ongoing political unrest that severely disrupted Afghani music-making.

Veronica Doubleday recorded this music during ethnomusicological fieldwork in Herat. John Baily, her husband, produced Afghanistan: The Traditional Music of Herat as a result of that same trip, documenting Afghanistan’s male-dominated classical music tradition.

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This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available again, including more than a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

101
Bibi Gol Afruz Zainab Herawi, Anar Gol 4:41
102
Galeh dokhtar Adeh 2:02
103
Girls' music: clapping and drumming / O bacheh aughân / Anâr dâneh nadâre n/a 2:35
104
Chahârbeiti sâbeqeh / Chahârbeiti Siâh Mu o Jalâli Zainab Herawi, Anar Gol 9:14
105
Lullaby Madar-e Zahir 3:00
106
Adam Khân Adeh 3:00
107
Urban band dance music: Logâri / Mustafa / Shishkebâb Zainab Herawi, Anar Gol, Urak, Halimeh 3:54
108
Dâireh dance pieces: Chahârtâi and Bâjekhâneh Madar-e Abdul 1:46
109
Hawâbeh jân Hawâbeh / Ghu ghu balg-e chenâr Mah Gol, Shah Gol 0:57
110
Alâ zan-e biweh / Sar-e pul-e Mâlân Nassimeh Massieh 3:02
111
Asp-e khâseh zin konum Madar-e Zahir 1:28
112
Yâr-e hamdam chere nemiyâyi? Bobo 1:21
113
Tambaku / Arus gham nakhor n/a 1:53
114
Processional drumming on the dâireh Shah Gol 0:44
115
Wedding ritual sequence: Olang olang and Shelengi / Bâdâ bâdâ / Logari Lagha, Gohar, Zuleikha 6:33
116
Bibi gol arus Zainab Herawi, Anar Gol 1:32
117
Shâh dokhtar shekar dokhtar Zainab Herawi, Anar Gol 2:32
118
Chahârbeiti Hawa 2:58
119
Chahârbeiti barâye khodâhâfez Madar-e Zahir 1:44
120
Najibeh gom shode Zainab Herawi, Anar Gol 4:26
121
Leilâ Leilâ Leilâ Adeh 2:21
122
Sefid kheimeh siâh kheimeh khorâmân Zainab Herawi, Siah 2:30

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