Artist Profiles: Aziz Herawi

Aziz Herawi
Aziz Herawi
Aziz Herawi is an expatriate Afghani currently living in California. He comes from a wealthy religious family in Herat. His father did not approve of playing music and consequently Aziz learned to play the dutar (a long-necked lute) as a boy in secret. He embodies many of the characteristics of the shauqi, or amateur musician: he is self-taught, has a passionate interest in music, and does not wish to make a living exclusively from his music.

Herawi was well known in Herat as an enthusiastic performer and as a generous patron of other musicians. Herat’s music is a blend of Persian and Hindustani instruments and styles. Herawi’s dutar and rubab playing is very typical of the Herat style. The pieces have the varied rhythms of the Hindustani raga forms, but are fairly short (3 to 5 minutes each) and more intense than most Hindustani music. Herawi often builds up to very fast tempos, and employs a wide range of dynamics, sometimes playing very quietly for dramatic effect.

Aziz Herawi became a refugee from the war in Afghanistan, moving first to Pakistan and later to the United States of America.


Master of the Afghani Lutes (Arhoolie 387, 1992)
Memories of Herat (Music of the World)
Cry of the Mountains (7/8 Productions 100211, 2003)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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