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Afghanistan Music, Dance and Costuming

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Afghanistan is, like many other countries in that area, as much a collection of tribes in the same geographical area as a country. Ethnic groups in the country (per the CIA World Factbook) include: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen, and Baloch. The Afghanistan History and Entertainment Portal gives details about the ethnic groups and includes a chart of sub-tribes. Therefore, do not expect the ethnic arts of Afghanistan to be homogeneous, and do expect them to ignore country borders.

"The modern nation-state of Afghanistan was mapped by British bureaucrats at the end of the nineteenth century as a way of keeping their Empire from touching the Russian Empire, so as to avoid superpower conflicts. This kept Afghanistan neutral and uncolonized, but with arbitrary borders. Physically, the country presents a huge mountainous spine surrounded by areas of desert and steppe, open on all sides to neighboring lands: Pakistan, Iran, and the Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, with a tiny Chinese border in the Wakhan panhandle of the northeast."— Mark Slobin.


The folk dances of Afghanistan are popular with Western ethnic dancers, possibly because of the beautiful costumes which are a show in themselves during the frequent spins and turns.





Breaking the Silence - Music in Afganistan is the BBC's riveting documentary on the Taliban's effect on the musical culture of Afghanistan and its current recovery.

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