Despite bureaucratic obstacles and security risks, musicians from Tajikistan and its neighbours gathered for an festival in the southeastern town of Khorog last month.
Called the Roof of the World Festival after the Pamir mountains where Khorog is located, the annual event is the brainchild of Samandar Pulodov, who invites musicians from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Uzbekistan.
Pulodov said a number of foreign performers were able to attend this year because they could not get visas, as the authorities tightened up after violence in Khorog in May. (See Unrest Subsides in Southeast Tajikistan.)
After more serious trouble in July 2012, the Tajik authorities closed the border with Afghanistan, which reduced the number of visitors and tourists.
One of those who did make it this year’s festival was Daud Pajman, a star in his home Afghanistan. However, he came without any instruments as he was afraid of meeting Islamic insurgents who are against secular music.
“I came from Faizabad [northeast Afghanistan] and I had to travel through the village of Varduj where you can run into the Taleban. So I wasn’t able to bring my instruments with me,” he told IWPR.
Mahmud Rahimbekov is an IWPR contributor in Tajikistan.
This audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan. It was produced under two IWPR projects: Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan, funded by the European Union; and the Human Rights Reporting, Confidence Building and Conflict Information Programme, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of either the European Union or the Norwegian foreign ministry.