Finally Free to Make Music Again

/ The Immigrant Story

Ahmad Fanoos spent the first 57 years of his life searching for the freedom to play music. 

In Afghanistan, where singing and playing music were banned under the Taliban, Ahmad could not safely pursue his passion. Over time, music led him and his family across careers and borders. 

Between Taliban regimes, Ahmad became a guest star and judge for one of Afghanistan’s most popular TV music shows. He also inspired his own children to pursue music professionally — including his son Elham, who completed his master’s degree in 2021 at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. 

The music you hear in this episode was performed by Ahmad and Elham. The song is called “Ashkam Wale Ba Paye.” You can listen to a live performance of this song here: 

Catch the Fanooses playing together and they are touring the US and their ensemble is called, “Fanoos Ensemble,” where they tell the story of Afghanistan’s cultural history through a combination of Afghan folk and Western classical music. They will be playing at The Reser on May 20, 2023.   

Many Roads to Here is a production of The Immigrant Story.

This episode was produced by Emily Denny and with audio editing and post production by Gregg Palmer. The original interview was conducted by our executive producer, Sankar Raman, in Spring of 2022.

Thank you to St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Beaverton, Oregon for the use of their space to record the interview.

This episode is made possible by the generous support by the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation

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