Freemuse has announced today that Zohra – The Afghan Women’s Orchestra is the winner of the 2017 Freemuse Award. The students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) are the first women in their families, community and country to learn music in over 30 years.
“With exceptional courage and dedication these young women are breaking new ground and have become important role models for any Afghan welcoming the return of music and the rights to exercise and take part in cultural life,” said the Freemuse press release.
The Freemuse Award will be bestowed at a concert with Zohra in Geneva on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by Freemuse co-founder Marie Korpe.
“Zohra is a small miracle,” said Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov. “By giving the award to Zohra, Freemuse is also acknowledging the ground-breaking work of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music founded by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast.”
Freemuse has a long record verifying the state for musicians in Afghanistan. The first ever Freemuse report, ‘Can you stop the birds singing? – The censorship of music in Afghanistan’ was published in 2001 and expressed how the people of Afghanistan under Taliban rule were exposed to an extreme form of music censorship.
Earlier Freemuse Award winners include Lavon Volski from Belarus, Ramy Essam from Egypt, Festival of the Desert from Mali and the American folk-legend Pete Seeger.