For Fakira, a young Afghan cellist, coming to America will be the ultimate life changing event. The 15-year-old, like many other Afghan children and teen is used to roaming the streets of Kabul, the Afghan capital, hawking magazines to help support her poverty stricken family.
However, now thanks to efforts by the Afghan Youth Orchestra, the teen along with other former street children and orphans will appear in America’s most prestigious concert hall.
Fakira in an interview said: “Suddenly my whole life changed, and now I am going to America.” She recounted her encounter with a rather improbable school that is reviving music, both Western classical and Afghan, in a country where the Taliban has made even listening to it a crime. Generations of musicians in the country has vanished through killings, old age or exile.
Like many other teenagers in Afghan the teenager uses only one name. She will be playing in the Afghan Youth Orchestra, which begins on February 3. The 12-day US tour will include concerts at Washington’s Kennedy Center (the President is invited), New York’s Carnegie Hall and the New England Conservatory in Boston.
The orchestra forms the centerpiece of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, which was formed by Ahmad Sarmast two and a half years ago. The institute is a true success story out of a country ravaged by violence and poverty.