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Kefaya & Elaha Soroor

Afghan folk music filtered through spiritual jazz & dub

Songlines Encounters Festival

Mon 1 Jun
Contemporary

Kefaya & Elaha Soroor

Afghan folk music filtered through spiritual jazz & dub

Songlines Encounters Festival

‘Traditional Hazara and other Afghan folk songs are taken on a journey from East to West (…) with elements of jazz, electronica and dub’ ★★★★★ Financial Times

‘A thoroughly modern, multicultural masterpiece’ Uncut

‘The sound of a long walk to freedom’ ★★★★ MOJO


Afghan singer Elaha Soroor and award-winning music/producer duo Kefaya (Al MacSween and Giuliano Modarelli) join forces for an unmissable evening crossing cultural and musical boundaries.

Songs of Our Mothers is a beautiful collection of Afghan songs seen from the female perspective in lively contemporary arrangements by Kefaya. ‘The beauty of Soroor’s mother language [Farsi] and the wide ranging culture it encompasses is palpable throughout’ said the glowing review in Songlines.

These songs tell stories of joy, pain and resilience, passed from mother to daughter in times of hardship and oppression whilst also celebrating femininity, sensuality and the spirit of resistance. As Elaha says, this album is for ‘those women around the world whose image has been erased, and whose voice has been forbidden.’

Elaha Soroor isn’t her real name, it’s a pseudonym (meaning Goddess of Happiness), because she didn’t want repercussions on her family in Afghanistan. ‘I was kind of fed up with being erased,’ Soroor says. ‘My brothers could do anything, but I had to be the girl who would just grow up and get married.’

Aged 18, Elaha Soroor left home, disguised herself as a boy and lived with her sister in Kabul, often having to change location. With a local band she recorded the song ‘Abay Jan’ (Dear Mother) which was a big hit in Afghanistan. Her rising popularity in a society known for its persecution of female performers combined with her outspoken views on women’s rights led to an environment of serious personal danger and Elaha was eventually forced to flee Afghanistan.

After arriving in London as a refugee, Elaha was introduced to guitarist Giuliano Modarelli and pianist Al MacSween, founders of award-winning international collective Kefaya. Driven by a shared desire to use music as a tool for political dialogue and action, together they forged the themes, concept and sound of Songs Of Our Mothers, which was one of Songlines’ album picks of last year.

Date & start time:Mon 1 Jun – 8pm
Venue:Hall One
Price:£16.50 | Savers £9.50*
+ £3 booking fee.

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*subject to availability

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