“I wanted to break the stereotypes associated with Afghanistan by celebrating their music”-Zebunnisa Bangash

Zebunnisa Bangash sat down with BBC urdu to discuss her latest collaboration with Afghan singer Sharmali Afghan to celebrate Afghan music

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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Zebunnisa Bangash recently made headlines when she released the song “Yaar” in collaboration with Sharmali Afghan which she described as a love letter to Afghani culture and music as it was under threat because of the current hostile environment.

In the BBC Urdu interview, Shamali Afghan further elaborated on the meaning of the song by saying that it was a dedication to the people of Afghanistan currently living under terrifying circumstances

“This song was a dedication to the days and nights and the current situation of Afghanistan and the people who were living there.”

When asked about her love for Afghani music, Zebunnisa Bangash revealed that her family listened to Afghani music since she was a child and which played an important reason behind why she choose make this soulful dedication

“I listened to Afghan music a lot as a child. During the 80’s when many Afghan refugees migrated to our country, among them were a lot of musicians and they would give live performances of their songs in our home. Among them was the man Shah Wali whom my grandmother use to consider as her son, and Shamali is his son which is why I chose to collaborate with him.”

Opening up about how the collaboration took place, the singer revealed that they had planned a collaboration for months but it was quite difficult due to covid, and also talked about how they shot the video:

“I had wanted to collaborate with Shamali for a long time because I found his voice to be quite beautiful and unique like his father’s was. Within a week we had come together at my house where we shot the videos and recorded the songs. We couldn’t find any other location due to covid, and my nieces and nephews were a lot of help. We had initially planned to release the song at the end of the year, but the way the circumstances in Afghanistan changed we realized that it was absolutely necessary to release this music to remind everyone of the beauty of Afghan music and culture.”

Zebunnisa also said that she created this track with Shamali as a way to counteract the negative stereotypes associated with Afghanistan and its culture, and celebrate some of the finest aspects of the land like its music

“I had visited Kabul three or four times and I loved the music over there. I also feel that the creativity and the love people have for music over there is quite breath-taking and much more refined than the music culture of Lahore. I remember that even when you would go to small shops like a tikka shop there would be a live show taking place and local people would be playing their instruments.”

You can watch the complete interview below: