Tag Archives: Ariana Delwari

Photography, Bikes, Slam Poetry, Graffiti, and ROCK at Sound Central Festival

The finale show for the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition couldn’t have a cooler Kabul location than the 3rd Annual Sound Central Festival.  Bigger and badder than ever, the alternative music festival has grown substantially each year since founder, Travis Beard launched the first ever Central Asia Rock Festival in 2011.

Travis is a longtime friend, advisor to M2M, and frequent road trip companion to some dodgy places as my photographer-for-hire.   He had asked me last fall if we could keep the exhibition in Afghanistan after our series of public exhibitions to set the backdrop and involve more art forms in this years festival.  I couldn’t think of a more fitting finale.  Sound Central Festival has grown from the initial one day rock festival at Babur Gardens, to a alternative music and art festival spanning four days on two stages with acts from around the world.   The festival kicked off with the Women’s Only day – which allowed orphanages and school girls to attend and experience a different sort of concert.  Slam poetry, a fashion show, Afghan rap duo, films, and a killer performance by White City, and Ariana Delwari rounded out the indoor activities, along with various artisans in the lobby.  Outside was the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition throughout the entrance courtyard, grafitti art with Shamsia, and Mountain2Mountain‘s Bike School with members of the women’s national cycling team.

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Once the music kicked off however, we took the three members of the national team inside so they could take part.  The crowd was a sea of white headscarves from the schoolgirl’s uniform, and they cheered and clapped throughout the various acts.  But when Ru Owen, frontman of Kabul expat band, White City took the stage – they went wild.   She welcomed them in Dari and with arms open called out to her Afghan ‘sisters’.  Goosebumps ran down my spine at her wide smile that showed her genuine pleasure to take the stage in front of all these young girls, who for most had never been to any concert, much less one like this – a full blown rock concert with a strong female lead.  Without further ado, Ru, Travis, and Andreas rocked their world and the girls loved every minute.

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Streets Finale Show at Sound Central Festival

The finale show in Afghanistan for the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition will kick off tomorrow at the Sound Central Festival. The festival is in its third year, and is the brainchild of Kabul filmmaker/photojournalist/rockstar Travis Beard.  The festival started as the first Central Asia alternative music festival and each year has grown to include street art, film, and break out sessions outside of the main stage.

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                                        SCF Founder, Travis Beard, gets excited about this year’s line up

The festival kicks off with a women’s only day, inviting upwards of 500 schoolgirls and orphans to attend to listen to music, watch a film by Afghan American singer/songwriter/filmmaker, Ariana Delwari, and learn about contemporary art.  In the courtyard girls can learn to skateboard, bike ride, and experience art.  The goal is to engage young Afghan girls that wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to be exposed to art and contemporary music and sport.

Next up is where they begin to really rock – three days of rock, alternative, punk, rap, and everything in-between as Sound Central rocks Kabul on two stages.  This is not for the expat scene, Sound Central is open to the public and about engaging Afghan youth in contemporary and alternative music, while highlighting the music scene in this region and beyond with bands from Afghanistan and its neighbors like District Unknown, Kabul Dreams, Tears of the Sun and many more.

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Home grown Kabul boys, District Unknown, rock Afghanistan regularly

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Afghan Dreamers – A Book Project Needs Your Help to Launch

Afghan Eyes,

    Musician and filmmaker, Ariana Delwari

                                                                                                                                            photo credit:  Jawad Jalali/ Afghan Eyes

Afghanistan is probably best known in the West for its poverty, oppression, terrorism, and ongoing conflict.  It’s not untrue, but its not all that it is.  Against this backdrop, are the dreamers and visionaries.   Artists, musicians, innovators, activists, media moguls, and politicians.  Just like any other country – the dreamers and the free thinkers are often those whose stories are quieter than the stories of violence and anger that shout more loudly.  That doesn’t make them less powerful.

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