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The Scent of Kharabat

Ustad Asif Mahmoud
w/family and Guests

Saturday 11 December
3-4.30pm GMT Brunei Gallery, SOAS

University of London Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG



The Scent of Kharabat: A Concert for Afghanistan

Temple Church, London

Tuesday 22 February


Tickets £10 - £30

Located at the Eurasian crossroads, Afghanistan has soaked in Central Asian, Indian, Persian and Turkic cultures with evidence of these influences sensed in the rich musical heritage. Interestingly, the Persian word for music is ‘musiqi’, derived from the Greek “mousike”.


The epicentre of musical creativity in Afghanistan has historically been the musicians’ Quarter in Kabul, Kucha-e Kharabat, where hereditary music practitioners have lived for generations. In the 1990s, with the ban on music and public performance by the Taliban, musicians from Kharabat around the country were forced to flee to Iran and Pakistan. Hereditary musicians such as Ustad Asif Mahmoud and his family — who now live in London — moved abroad, as Afghans tried to maintain their musical traditions in exile.


Unfortunately, history has repeated itself, and after 20 years of relative peace for musicians, the Taliban are back in force and pride — claiming the defeat of the West and their values. Once again, musicians are prime victims of the political unease.


Afghanistan's history is filled with excessive conflicts resulting in destruction, loss of life, damage to cultural heritage and, of course, the exodus of many people from their home country. However, as the great mystic poet of Balkh, Rumi, said: “Anyone who is separated from their roots, will pursue the path to be reunited” — these peoples of the arid Hindukush, with a great capacity for resilience, have always kept their heads up — defiant and raised. In Afghanistan we have an expression: “Taa risha dar aab ast, omid-e samar ast” — literally, “Until the roots are in the water, there is hope for fruit!”

In this concert, Ustad Asif Mahmud, his son Yusuf Mahmud, and his grandsons, bring to us with their performance the scent of Kharabat from Kabul to London.

- Mirwaiss Sidiqi, London 01 December 2021

Watch the full concert here!

Feed the Soul
Winter Benefit Concert

for fellow musicians in Afghanistan

Saturday 18 December
6.00pm - Interplay Theatre in Leeds

Armley Ridge Rd, Armley, Leeds LS12 3LE


6:30pm - 7:15pm 

Ismail Hussain & Company - Islamic Nasheed

Ismail Hussain - main vocalist 
Hussain Ali - harmonium 
Faizan Ziyarat - vocalist 
Zain Hassan - vocalist 
Jawad Khan - daff 
Nono Khan - dholki 
Hossain Amir - saaz

7:25pm - 7:45pm

Sarah Yaseen - Sufi

7:50pm - 8:20pm

Stiofán Ó Treabhair - Irish vocals/guitar/bouzouki


8:25pm - 8:45pm

Kauser Mukhtar - poetry

8:50pm - 9:05pm

Kirtan Kaur Virdee - sitar & John Ball - tabla

9:10pm - 9:40pm

Satnam Galsian and John Hogg - Punjabi folk

9:45pm - 10:30pm

Qais Essar - rabab

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