Mercury Prize Nominee & Influential Asian Underground Artist remixes "Arsala Khan"
A collaborative music project between young musicians in Armagh Northern Ireland and Kabul Afghanistan released last year has received the Black Star Liner sonic touch. The orginal version released last year was part of collaboration project led by Afghanistan National Institute of Music (Zohra Ensemble), Beyond Skin, Unique New Adventure Ltd. Traditional Arts Partnership & Yallaa.
Formed in Leeds UK in 1994 fusing dub with bollywood soundtracks, Indian sitar with tabla driven dances beats Black Star Liner immediately received critical acclaim wiith single of the week award in the NME magazine followed by an invite to record a live BBC radio session as part of the legendary John Peel Sessions. Their first album "Yemen Cutta Connection" received critical praise including album of the week in The Guardian. The follow up album "Bengali Bantam Youth Experience" did not disappoint music critics, again receiving much praise also nominated for the 1999 Mercury Music Prize.
BSL founder Choque Hosein gathered recognition not only for his production skills but also for his influence and punk spirit activism with the Asian Underground music scene. With a good dose of humour Choque has never been afraid to prod the establishment and mainstream popular culture. Given the story behind this project particulary with the challenges the young female musicians face in Kabul, between the music lines Choque's "Arsala Kahn" mix is shouting out loud without out the need for words.
"Choque is that rare thing in pop music nowadays - a true, maverick saboteur - his band are equally unique. Nobody has ever sounded like this, principally because Kraftwerk weren't born in New Delhi" Dave Simpson - The Guardian
Previous remix work has included Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Dreadzone & Horace Andy - so we are in very good company. A sincere thanks from to Choque from all his new friends in Northern Ireland & Afghanistan.
The orginal track press release & details and are below.
Music prevails! Over the past three months an unprecedented music collaboration has been happening involving young musicians from Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Despite CoVid-19 and security challenges there has been no half measures to fulfill an ambitious vision to create three shared music productions. At the helm, a team of producers and logistic managers have enabled the young musicians to record and perform together resulting in a series of music videos with accompanying visual diaries documenting the journey.
The project is part of a wider partnership that was started between the organizations Beyond Skin Northern Ireland and Afghanistan National Institute of Music when both Directors Dr Ahmad Sarmast and Darren Ferguson met at the Batuta International Seminar on Music and Social Transformation conference in Bogota, Colombia in 2016. Over the past three years there has been various Northern Ireland Afghanistan shared activities with Dr Ahmad Sarmast visiting Northern Ireland in 2017. Educational workshops exploring Afghan culture have also taken place in Northern Ireland with youth groups facilitated by partners Yallaa & Unique New Adventure Ltd. This year the Traditional Arts Partnership South Armagh have joined the consortium with young women from their network participating in the music productions along with members from the Afghan Women’s Orchestra, also known as Zohra Ensemble.
The project has been supported by private donors with The WOMAD Foundation and Arts Council Northern Ireland & Factor Law as principal funders.
“The WOMAD Foundation is so proud to have supported this wonderful collaboration across continents that has taken place in spite of all the adversities that we face today. To see young girls playing music that reflects their separate Irish and Afghani cultural heritages and also creates a seamless uplifting whole, affirms the universality of music and human experience. It is tremendously powerful.” Mandy Adams Trustee, WOMAD Foundation.
Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Beyond Skin with this wonderful international collaboration project, thanks to National Lottery players. We know that music and the arts bring people and communities closer together and I’d like to congratulate Darren at Beyond Skin and everyone involved and look forward to seeing the music videos created by these impressive young musicians very soon.”
The first of the videos was released as part of the One World Festival Northern Ireland 17th October and 18th October for Share Music Day Japan TV and Youtube broadcast managed by Min-On Music Concert Association & Min-On Music Research Institute
Darren Ferguson CEO of Beyond Skin said: “Do not underestimate the vast achievement producing these music videos. I cannot commend the production, logistic team and all the musicians enough for navigating through many challenges during a global pandemic and when security risks for the young girls in Kabul are still very real. I am immensely proud of this collaborative triumph.”
Director of Afghanistan National Institute of Music Dr Ahmad Sarmast commented: “This collaboration between young musicians from Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, in a time that peace talks on Afghanistan is well underway and it might lead to the return of the Taliban back to power, is significant in rising awareness about the future of music in Afghanistan, given the past draconian policies of the Taliban against music . Taliban did not only violated the musical rights of the Afghan people, but banned music entirely and the people of Afghanistan were not allowed to listen, learn or play music”
Afghanistan News Article
Project production and logistics team
Una Lappin – Project Manager
Benjamin Wu – Conductor Artist Music Director
Mark Smulian - Executive Music Producer
Kacper Lewandowski - Audio Editor
Chris Heath – Film Producer and Editor
Kenny Qua – Logistics, Audio & Film Engineer
Elaine O'Sullivan – Logistics and Music Director
Kerry Anderson – Communications Assistant & Marketing
Dr Ahmad Sarmast – Project Director Afghanistan
Darren Ferguson – Project Director Northern Ireland
For more information about the Northern Ireland Afghanistan Project visit www.beyondskin.net/zohra
For more information about Afghanistan National Institute of Music and Zohra Ensemble visit www.anim-music.org