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LIDIO Music Freedom Day News

“Landless Tree” – migration, destruction & resilience, EP debut by Ghawgha Taban

"Landless Tree" - EP debut by Ghawgha Taban

March 2, 2023

Photo credit: Camilla Norvoll

"Landless Tree" - migration, destruction and resilience, EP debut by Ghawgha Taban

In her first EP release, Ghawgha Taban sings about a “tree without a land”. About an eternally displaced body filled with memories of migration both as a direct personal experience and as a legacy of generations of “Afghan-Iranians” or “Afrans”. A strong debut from Ghawgha, a brave singer who, together with some of Norway’s leading musicians, Anja Lauvdal (keyboard), Morten Qvenild (keyboard etc.) and Paal Nilssen-Love (percussion), conveys frustration, anger and hope.

Photo credit: JLE/ Safemuse

In April 2022, Ghawgha was welcomed as a guest artist to Safe Music Haven Harstad, a city in the north of Norway dedicated to welcoming persecuted musical artists under the ICORN Cities of Refuge Network and Norsk PEN’s program in Norway, and in cooperation with Safemuse. Since her arrival she has worked on the development the repertoire for the EP “Landless Tree”, and more is to come. The recording is produced by the Safemuse label LIDIO with support from The Audio and Visual Fund (Fond for lyd og bilde) and the City of Harstad, and is a musical triptych that invites the listener to the experience of younger generations of “Afrans”, as a complex legacy of migrations, destruction and resilience.

Landless-5

Photo credit: JLE/ Safemuse

Ghawgha does not use the established term Afghans for the people of Afghanistan, but mixes both Afghanistan and Iran to refer to herself; “Afrans”. This clarifies a complicated, multi-layered recent history. Afghans originally refers to specific groups of Pashtuns, one of the largest ethnic groups in modern society in Afghanistan. But Ghawgha is Hazara, a large minority in both Afghanistan and Iran, who have been persecuted and subjected to genocide since 1880 by Afghanistan’s Pashtuns. King Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901) ordered several raids against Hazaras, which resulted in the extermination of a significant part of this population, through direct massacres and through the rape and enslavement of Hazara women. As a group, the Hazaras became the target of brutal political and societal racism that is still ongoing.

Photo credit: JLE/ Safemuse

“Away from home” is a traditional Hazara lullaby from Bamiyan, the site where the Taliban blew up the two giant Buddha statues in March 2001. Although it is often interpreted as an act of religious fundamentalism, the reasons behind this are much more intricate, and also clearly linked to the identity politics set in motion by Abdur Rahman Khan’s genocide and destruction of Hazara culture. The tune is a Hazara folk tune that reached Ghawgha through oral transmission, against all odds.

More information at LIDIO

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