Monday 4 March 2024

The Afghan Youth Orchestra makes its UK debut as part of South Asian Sounds at Southbank Centre

Afghan Youth Orchestra
The Afghan Youth Orchestra

On Thursday 7 March 2024, the Afghan Youth Orchestra makes its debut at the Southbank Centre at the start of its first UK tour, Breaking the Silence. The orchestra was originally formed in 2010, but took its present form in 2022 after the orchestra was forced into exile due to the return of the Taliban to power. Now based in Portugal, the orchestra consists of 47 male and female musicians aged between 14 and 20 and from diverse backgrounds, playing on traditional Afghan and Western classical music, played on both Afghan and Western instruments under the direction of the conductor, Tiago Da Silva.

The concert on 7 March is followed by further appearances in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. There is also a CrowdFunder to help support the expenses of the tour.

The Afghan Youth Orchestra's tour is being presented by SAMA Arts, one of the UK’s oldest arts organisations in the genre of traditional and contemporary South Asian arts, and the Southbank Centre concert is part of a South Asian Sounds  season at the Southbank Centre with a full day of programming on 10 March 2024, featuring some of the finest artistes from South Asia and the UK.

Full details of the Afghan Youth Orchestra's tour and South Asian Sounds from the SAMA Arts website.

Shockingly, the orchestra had its Visas denied by the UK government, thus threatening what should have been a beacon of hope. Thankfully that decision has now been reversed. But it should never have happened.

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