How Afghan-Canadians in B.C. are finding strength and unity through the power of music
It's been almost a year since Kabul's fall and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Among the many aspects of Afghan society threatened by the Taliban is the country's rich musical culture.
Many in the Afghan diaspora – including Metro Vancouver residents – are trying to keep Afghanistan's arts and culture alive.
Some local fans were fortunate enough to meet one of the country's most iconic singers, Farhad Darya, on Friday.
The pop star is touring Canada and made a stop in Metro Vancouver.
For Abbotsford DJ Ahmad Yasin, it's a dream come true to perform at Darya's show as the opening act.
"Words can't describe it. It means a lot, definitely," said Yasin, who has been playing music for years and is one of the few Afghan DJs in the province.
"Afghan diaspora in Vancouver, they're very, very keen in his music and his lyrics and everything that he does," Yasin added. "Although this may be an event of happiness ... his music is patriotic."
And it's that patriotism that Afghans say they need right now, especially since music is banned under Taliban rule.
That's not going to stop Afghans in Metro Vancouver from enjoying Darya's sold-out concert in Surrey Saturday.
"They're trying to suppress music inside of Afghanistan, but they can't continue this," said the Afghan pop star.
"For a nation that has no voice right now, music can be and is the loudest voice they need."
For many in the Afghan diaspora who have been forced to leave, Darya's music reminds them of home.
"For me, it's just a way to connect back to my roots and those really, really special memories that I have from my really short time in my homeland," said Parniyan Hezhir, a local fan.
"I feel like music is such a big part of me reconnecting to my identity — not just because music is fun and we dance to it and all of those things are important in our culture, but in a lot of these songs, if you pay close attention to the lyrics, a lot of them are about the Afghan experience," she said.