Celebrated Afghani singer Ustad Farida Mahwash & Friends will perform "Radio Kaboul" on Tuesday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kasser Theater. The performance is free of charge for MSU Undergrads through the Performing Arts Fee. Admission is $30 with discounts for seniors, groups and MSU staff, faculty, graduate students and alumni. For tickets, call the Box Office at (973) 655-5112 or visiting www.montclair.edu/kasser.
The performance at MSU was to feature Ensemble Kaboul, however, the processing of the group members' visas has been delayed, forcing them to remain abroad. The good news is that vocalist Ustad Farida Mahwash and her band will press on, performing a host of hits from the glory days of Afghan Radio.
Ustad Farida Mahwash is unanimously acknowledged as the greatest female singer of Afghanistan. She studied under the great masters Nabi Gol, Khyal, Sarâhang and Naynawaz. Mahwash became popular through her broadcasts on the Radio Kabul, and was named "Artist of the Year" in 1970, before receiving in 1977 the coveted title of Ustad ("Master"). She has been living for the last twelve years in California and makes tours throughout the world to promote a better understanding of the music of her country. The BBC granted her the Asia/Pacific Award of World Music in 2003.
Mahwash and friends are part of a new generation of musicians who have kept Afghan music alive in spite of terrible oppression. Operating in exile, they have preserved the traditions and popular sound of Afghan music. Vocalist Ustad Farida Mahwash was one of the biggest stars of Radio Afghanistan before the Taliban regime banned the performance of non-religious music and she was forced into exile.
Many of her songs are classical Dari poems set to music with structures similar to those of classical ragas and rhythms reminiscent of tabla drums and North African darbuka. Mahwash is the only female vocalist awarded the celebrity status of "Ustad" (master musician) by her native country.