Roughly 50 years ago, Don McLean released his son song, “American Pie” with its famous line about “The Day the Music Died.” It was a reference to when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson died along with pilot Roger Peterson in an airplane crash. For Afghans, the day the music died coincided with the Taliban takeover of their country. Nothing drove home that fact than the horrific killing of Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi, who was executed by the Taliban for playing music.
The singer’s son said that the Taliban came to their farm and shot his father in the head. They targeted him because of his fame for playing the ghichak (above), a bowed lute, and preserving the traditional songs about his country.
While the Taliban told the media it would investigate, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid emphasized that “Music is forbidden in Islam.” Just days before, he announced to the media that music was banned. It was one of the first things the Taliban did after retaking power. Music was also banned under Taliban rule from 1996 until 2001.
You can see one of the last folk sons of Andarabi here as he sings of “our beautiful valley.”