Sunday, May 1 @ 5:00 pm, Elevation Amphitheatre
Quraishi is a world-class Afghan-American rubab player. A rare and vital link between the rich tradition of classical Afghan court music, the golden years of Afghan radio, NYC’s diverse immigrant culture, and the future of Afghanistan’s musical identity, Quraishi has performed headline-concerts everywhere from Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum, and The Kennedy Center, to New York’s Asia Society, Symphony Space, and the Hammerstein Ballroom.
Twenty years of war and the Taliban’s systematic repression have taken an incalculable toll on Afghanistan’s instrumental music world. With a little searching, you might be able to find historical field recordings from thirty years ago, or current synthesizer pop music made in the Afghan diaspora. But as the world music scene continues to explode around the globe, the vitality and immediacy of traditional Afghan artists making traditional Afghan music for our times has been conspicuously absent. That is to say: until now.
Quraishi’s father made him his first rubab, an ancient instrument belonging to the short-necked lute family. It is traditionally made with a single piece of mulberry wood with a skin face, often richly ornamented with inlay of bone and ivory, and even occasionally encrusted with lapis lazuli or mother of pearl. There are typically three melody strings (now usually made of gut or nylon) and as many as twenty sympathetic strings that are variably tuned to the modes or ragas, imparting a deep resonance and unique timbre to the national instrument of Afghanistan.