Directorate of Music

Department of Music

Department of Music at the Ministry of Information and Culture is one of the key departments which promote culture, with responsibility of leadership, coordination, popularization, and spreading musical richness throughout the country and around the globe.

History

The Directorate of Music was founded at the Ministry of Information and Culture in 1983, and started its activities with 372 staff, with the aims to promote music of different ethnics groups in Afghanistan. The Center of Indian Music was established within the framework of Music Directorate in 1984 by the financial support of Indian Government.

Four professors from India Prof. Robin Chatter Jee, and Krishna Chatter Jee in singing, Prof. Irfan Mohammad Khan in Guitar and Modulation, Prof. Mahesh Dalwi in Tabla (drum) trained male and female students. The salary was paid by the Indian Government, and the accommodation and transport were provided by the Afghan Government.

It is worth mentioning that Afghan Musical equipment were thought by Afghan professors, Prof. Qasimi, Mohammad Hashim, Rahim Baksh, which had a great result, and added more musicians to the culture of the country.

In addition to that, center of musical equipment production was established, which produced musical pieces such as psaltery, lute (tamboor), drum (tabla). Furthermore, students were training in the making and creating musical instruments.

Unfortunately, the center, which was running its activities for five years, was shut down in 1988 during the civil war, and all the musical equipment, which was provided by the Indian Government robbed and stolen.

The center was reopened during the Taliban’s Regime, but was renamed “Center of Islamic Song”. During that regime, music was completely banned, and the music pieces were smuggled and moved to Pakistan. After the transitional administration and the election of Hamid Karzai as President, the Music Department was reopened with 80 employees. Although some progresses had made during his tenure, but they weren’t enough, and even no building was constructed. Moreover, the achievements, national identity, and arts and culture of the country have suffered, vulnerable, and put under questioning. 

This insouciance caused to reduce the staff to thirty. These thirty staff included 24 employees, and six musicians. Sated thus, this stiffness put the leadership and coordination of the music, and the making the strategic goals of the plans in parallel line with the Ministry’s plans in trouble on one hand. And, on the other hand, the lack of support of country’s music, the music was greatly influenced badly by the foreign cultures in particular the private radios and TVs stations.

Having the importance of music in mind, like radios and TVs, which has a great influence in our country as it has in the world, but it isn’t treated well as its valuable influence and importance. Indeed, due to the power of music in the heart and bone marrow of human being and society, it can draw millions of people from different parts of the world and uplift them emotionally. In fact, music can best be described as wonderful force that is capable of bonding people together and instituting international brotherhood, love as well as peace For that reason, music can easily be used as instrument of peace, brotherhood, friendship and unity between people of different origin and background. It brings people together.

The above problems and inconsistency should be taken seriously, and in order to end the above mentioned disputes, it is very nicely requested from the top management of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to prioritize the art of music and pave ground to the people who are interested in this field and help the Directorate of Music to spread and promote this art.

Situation of Music Directorate during the last year:

Upon appointed Mohammad Ihsan as Director of Music, the following preparatory works have been done:

With all the challenging, such as lack of enough and comfortable space and musical instruments, 60 youths are trained in singing and musical performance.

To even spread this, a proposal was prepared and submitted to the Indian Government to establish Musical School. Fortunately, the Indian Government generously shows its interest in funding a building with all equipment (Recording Studio, Musical instruments suppliers). The Afghan Government has agreed to give trainers and instructors’ salary. The land, where a school will be built shared with the Government Printing Department, and I am hoping for a positive result.

Many actions have been taken to register Free Music Groups. Until now, 60 groups have been registered after taking exam from the relevant committee. Till now, 120000 Afs revenue generated and deposited into the Government Income Bank’s Account. The registration of Music Training Centers has begun recently.

Another important step is by recruiting 20 people who were able to play the country’s original instruments. This wouldn’t have been done without his Excellency Mr. Abdul Bari Jahani’s, the former minister special attention. This orchestra took place for a year, and published by audio and picture media.

Besides that the orchestra participated in many national and international concerts, their experiments played a crucial rule in the renewing the country’s original musical instruments which are a part of culture came to life.

They were mostly playing (Tanboor of Afghanistan, guitar, Sirinda), but unfortunately, the predestination of those 20 people are in doubt due the lack of the budget.

History of Orchestra in Afghanistan

If we look at the history of orchestra, it reminds us that the governments were giving a special attention to the music and other arts, and they had better known that arts plays crucial rules in the country’s culture.

1. Symphony Orchestra: It was found by Ustad Farkh Afandi, who graduated from Military University and led it from 1945 to 1953. After, it was led by Ustad Salim Sarmast from 1953 to 1975. This orchestra was vanished in 1975

2. Orchestra (Number 2) Radio Afghanistan

In 1970, 38 members orchestra was established within the framework of General Directorate of Music, Radio Afghanistan, which was led by Prof. Nangialay. Most valuable documents have been registered at the Radio’s Archives, which were splashed afterward in 1975.

3. Jazz Orchestra Number 2

It was established in 1988 with 19 members. It was the birth of National Orchestra with 24 people, and started its activities with the endeavors and struggles of the Music Directorate and a special attention of the Minister in 2016, but unluckily it is in deep trouble because of the insufficient budget of the Ministry of Information and Culture.