Kabul Dreams: The Group of Friends that Founded the First Afghan Rock Band

by Anisa Benmoktar on April 17, 2010

Kabul Dreams is quite an outfit: Afghanistan’s first rock band, was formed less than a year. It’s already amassed a dedicated following of Afghans and expats as the nations one and only English-language indie band. Earlier this month the group performed in the Afghan capital’s only nightclub. The British embassy bar has also hosted the band.

Kabul Dreams

A trio of friends in their early 20’s, the boys that make up the band all have day jobs. The singer, 20-year-old Suleman Qardash presents the evening news on Afghanistan’s Uzbek-language television station and puts his salary towards building up the band.

Aiming for the Top

There’s a great article about Kabul Dreams in The Guardian, proving that the band are far from faint-hearted.  Suleman’s friend and bass player Siddique Ahmed underscores the band’s objectives:

“We are aiming for big things; a record label, an international tour.” – he says.

“And a Grammy!” adds Qardash.

Suleman Qardash Kabul Dreams

500 young Afghans rocked up to see Kabul Dreams play a gig at the American University even though “none of them had a clue about rock music”, Ahmed tells The Guardian.

The band performed a mixture of their own songs and indie covers. Their own material is recorded in English, despite the fact Suleman doesn’t speak it fluently: inspired by his idols Oasis, Radiohead and the Beatles, he has made their language his own when it comes to music.

Mixed Ingredients Make for More Interesting Music

Ahmed says English feels right for an ethnically mixed band of friends made up of a Tajik, a Pashtun and an Uzbek.

“If we sing in Dari, why not Pashtu? If we do both why not in Uzbek, where Suleman comes from?” He says.

Kabul is Afghanistan’s most ethnically mixed city, and as The Guardian article points out, such a band could only happen in Kabul; it is no coincidence that the three band members did not grow up under the Taliban, but in the relatively liberal environments of neighboring countries.

Qardash fell in love with British indie bands he found on the Internet while he was in Tashkent. Ahmed, the bass player, grew up in Islamabad and Mujtaba Habibi, the drummer, lived in Mashhad in Iran, returning to Afghanistan in 2002.

What do you think of Kabul Dreams? Give us your thoughts of their music.

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