Female Voice of Afghanistan

Virtual music festival • October 2021

Afghan female singers, introduced by cinematic portrait films, perform concerts and virtually meet Europe-based musicians to create fusion songs.
Filmed in July-September 2021 on location in Kabul (Afghanistan), Mashhad (Iran) and Berlin (Germany). Only on our → YouTube channel.
Biographies of the 9 singers (engl.)

In July 2021, ethnomusicologist Yalda Yazdani and ZOB director Andreas Rochholl traveled to Afghanistan for four weeks to film female singers living there. No one could have guessed at the time that this would be the last opportunity to document the lives of these female artists before the Taliban took power.
After two successful festival editions (2017/2018) and the documentary “The Female Voice of Iran” (2020), the vision of making these voices audible across all borders was also to be realized for female artists in and from Afghanistan. As before, artistic connections were also made with musicians from Europe. In addition to the complex political situation in Afghanistan, overcoming the pandemic-related and geographical distance creatively presented the makers with enormous challenges.


• Singers: Mashal Arman, Rouya Doost, Gulshan, Freshta Farokhi, Sumaia Karimi, Sadiqa Madadgar, Naria Nour, Wajiha Rastagar, Ghawgha Taban

Curator/Artistic Director: Yalda Yazdani • Director/Producer: Andreas Rochholl
Creative Director: Sebastian Leitner • Moderator: Sharmila Hashimi
Head of Sound-department – Volker Wendisch  •  Filmteam Afghanistan, Assistant Director – Zabiullah Saifi Askari • Animations – Fidan Akhundova • Additional camera in Berlin – Christoph Wieland • Media Relations – Christiane Dramé • Floral Artist – Mona-Isabelle • Translator – Qayce Alamdar • Sound Recordist Berlin – Daniel Weingarten • Stage management Berlin – Milena Gehrt

• Musicians for the Fusion-projects: Valentina Bellanova, Shukria Hameedi, Ceyhun Kaya, Mahan Mirarab, Petra Nachtmanova, Faroogh Rahmani, Golnar Shahyar, Mischa Tangian, Nora Thiele and a reading with Mariam T. Azimi
•  Additional Characters: Shafagh Rahmani, Hafiza Bahmani


17.10.21 TWIST “Überleben: Die Kunst weiterzumachen” by Marco Giacopuzzi (ARTE)
15.10.21 tagesschau SCHWERPUNKT: Musikfestival “Female Voice of Afghanistan” (ARD)
15.10.21 ZDF-Mittagsmagazin by Nadia Nasser (min. 26:15-29:30)
13.10.21 3sat – Kulturzeit
10.10.21 ttt-titel thesen temperamente (ARD)
09.10.21 rbbKultur DAS MAGAZIN by Max Burk
28.09.21 WDRforyou Interview mit Bamdad Esmaili
26.11.21. SRF Stimmen gegen das Trauma by Stefan Franzen (55 min.)

20.10.21 MDR Kultur “Gegen das Verstummen” by Grit Friedrich
17.10.21 DW online “Afghanistan: Stimmen gegen das Trauma” by Stefan Franzen
15.10.21 SRF Kultur “Virtuelles Musikfestival” (Swiss Radio and Television, SRF)
13.10.21 rbb 24 “Leben in Afghanistan? Da gibt es keine Sicherheit”
13.10.21 en.Qantara “Afghan women raise their voices against trauma” by Stefan Franzen (DW Deutsche Welle)
13.10.21 rbb INFOradio von Anke Schaefer
11.10.21 Radio eins  (rbb, 17 min) Interview with Knut Elstermann
08.09.21 WDR-COSMO von Bamdad Esmaili und Joyce Lok Teng Lee
Newspaper (online/print):
16.10.21 J:MAG “Festival virtuel de musique sur Youtube” by Malik Berkati (Swiss magazine)
14.10.21 Badische Zeitung Ein virtuelles Festival in Berlin stellt afghanische Sängerinnen vor
12.10.21 Qantara.de “Stimmen gegen das Trauma” by Stefan Franzen
10.10.21 Tagesspiegel “Singen im Land der Taliban: “Mein Herz ist in Afghanistan geblieben” by Cornelius Dieckmann (Newspaper in German)

Festival-website with EPK (download)

‘Female Voice of Afghanistan’ is a project created by Zeitgenössische Oper Berlin

funded by In cooperation with
CrossGeneration Media