Born in Kabul in 1976 into one of Afghanistan’s leading musical families, Homayoun Sakhi is a virtuoso performer of the rabÄb (short-necked lute) and heir to a musical lineage that began in the 1860s. In this special guest artist concert, Homayoun Sakhi performs Afghan traditional music and innovative new works on the rabÄb joined by noted percussionist Salar Nader, tabla.
Homayoun Sakhi, rabÄb
Homayoun Sakhi is a master of the Afghan rabÄb—the double-chambered lute that's at the heart of Afghanistan's Pashtun klasik tradition. Born in Kabul in 1976, Sakhi was heir to one of Afghanistan's great musical dynasties. His father, Ghulam Sakhi was a student and brother-in-law of Ustad Mohammed Omar, a revered musician with a direct link to the origins of Afghan classical music. When young Homayoun apprenticed himself to his father, he became the repository of a tradition that stretches back to the mid-19th century, when the Amir of Kabul imported North Indian classical musicians to perform at his court. Growing up in Kuchech Kharabat—Kabul's famed musicians' quarter—Homayoun readily absorbed many musical styles, from Afghani classical music to Persian ghazals and Hindustani ragas; as well as Indian and Pakistani cinema music and Western pop and classical sounds.
But recent history hasn't been kind to Afghanistan or its musicians, and Sakhi and his family fled Afghanistan in 1992 when fighting between rival warlords made Kabul a battlefield. The family settled in Peshawar, Pakistan and Sakhi began to make a name for himself performing for homesick refugees. While civil war gave way to the rise of the music-intolerant Taliban (who banned music and confiscated and burned cassettes and CDs), Sakhi and his fellow Afghan musicians in Pakistan were experiencing a kind of golden age, where musicians from all over the country were thrown together to share their regional styles. Sakhi was exposed to the rabÄb-playing of masters from Herat, Peshawar and other musical epicenters, and it broadened his understanding and appreciation of the range of the versatile instrument. His playing evolved beyond the confines of tradition and he became known as an innovator and assimilator. Eventually, he opened his own music school in Khalil House, the artistic center of the Afghan émigré community.
Sakhi's journey didn't end in Peshawar, though. In 2001, he secured a visa to travel to the United States. While many of his contemporaries were returning to rebuild their country after the fall of the Taliban, Sakhi was quietly building a new life in the Afghan enclave of Freemont, California. There he founded another music school and resumed his recording and performing career, now working closely with another Kabuli master musician, tabla-player Toryalai Hashimi. Together, the duo has begun making inroads beyond the Afghan community, recording their first album for the Smithsonian Folkways label in 2005, and touring internationally as part of the Smithsonian/ Aga Khan Trust For Culture's Music and Voices of Central Asia tour.
Salar Nader, tabla
Salar Nader, of Afghan origin, was born in 1981 in Hamburg, Germany and migrated to the United States at the age of three . It was in his early months of life when his mother and father noticed his passion for the tabla. No matter where Salar was, he had to bring along his personal tabla set, which his father bought for him when he was 6 months old.
At the age of 7 Salar attended his first tabla class in Berkeley, California. The instructor of the class, Ustad Zakir Hussain, who is now Salar's guru, is a world renowned master of the tabla.
Sooner than expected, Salar was making public appearances on nationwide television screens including; “Nowrooz” festival TV, Nima TV and Jaam-e-Jaam TV. One of his memorable appearances was with Ustad Mawaash (notable Afghan vocalist), when Salar was only 11 years old.
As time progressed Salar became more and more devoted to his tabla training and has since played internationally with renowned masters such as Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, world famous sarangi virtuoso Ustad Sultan Khan, Rob Wasserman, Pandit Chtresh Das and participated at the famous Monterey Music Festival at the age of just 18.
With a deep passion for Afghan classical music traditions but also Indian Kathak dance and music, he also enjoys collaborating with the Dj Cheb i Sabbah, a Dj for the Asian underground scene and Fareed Haque Group, improvising on an Indian jazz fusion style of music.
He has performed with Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Mawaash, Rahul Sharma, Ahmad Wali, Homayun Sakhi, Fareed Haque Group, Ustad Shujaat khan, Ustad Rashid khan, Kala Ramnath, Ghulam Ali Khan and Riffat Sultana. He has also performed with ensembles such as the Rumi Ensemble (Shahram Nazeri and Hafez Nazeri), Rumination (Farzin Farhadi, Cheb I Sabbah) and Niyaz.< Back