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Breaking The Silence: Music In Afghanistan
Published July 29, 2005


Try to imagine music disappearing, literally, from your life, for years on end. If you hear music at all, you’re listening in secret, afraid of the consequences. This was the fate of the people of Afghanistan under the Taliban, and the defeat of the oppressors a few years back, among other reasons for celebration, meant that music could once again be heard. Breaking The Silence, directed by Songlines magazine publisher Simon Broughton, documents that period when a battered culture began to reclaim itself. Tracing the long fall of the country through vintage news footage, the program makes clear that the return of music—the Taliban had not only prohibited music but destroyed instruments—is symbolic of something greater, a people repossessing their birthright. The remarkably moving performances that form the bedrock of this powerful film seem almost secondary at times to the larger story, yet they serve as a constant reminder of the significance of music to the Afghani people—to any people.