Artist Profiles: Badakhshan Ensemble

Badakhshan Ensemble

In the southeast of Tajikistan, where the majestic Pamir Mountains reach heights only slightly lower than those of the Himalayas, local traditions of devotional song, mystical music, and dance have flourished among mountain-dwelling Pamiri peoples. Together with Badakhshan’s rugged geography, these practices have nourished the preservation of many aspects of traditional culture.

The members of his Badakhshan Ensemble live in and around Khorog, the regional capital and the country’s largest city, where they earn their livelihood as professional musicians. Their repertory includes maddah, devotional songs that can embody the spiritual power known as baraka, laments with spare instrumental accompaniment called falak, and traditional popular songs, called khalqi.

For Badakhshanis, music and dance are intimately linked, and Soheba, an outstanding dancer as well as one of Badakhshan’s finest female vocalists, illustrates the rich symbolism of Pamiri dance.


Badakhshan Ensemble: Song and Dance from the Pamir Mountains – Music of Central Asia, Vol. 5 (Smithsonian Folkways, 2007)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several 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 and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.


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