Musical group that escaped Taliban shares first Canadian public performance on July 1
Their singing made them a target. Their music teacher found them safety in Saskatoon
After a harrowing journey that brought them to safety in Saskatoon, some members of the musical group Sound of Afghanistan recently had their first public performance as a group on Canadian soil.
Before the Taliban took over, the singers were regarded as a symbol of a new Afghanistan. They sang about freedom and the rights of women and girls. Their music was broadcast on radio, TV and social media.
That fame put them at incredible risk. They feared they would be killed by the Taliban.
With help from the 30 Birds Foundation, they and their families used a land route to escape Afghanistan into Pakistan before being accepted as refugees into Canada in September 2021.
On July 1, 2022, Sounds of Afghanistan performed for the very time time since leaving their home.
While the performance was a moment of incredible joy for the singers and their families, they still worry about members of their group who remain in Pakistan, waiting for the Canadian government to process their applications so they can all be together again in Saskatoon.
So where did this relationship begin?
For Leisha Grebinski, host of Saskatoon Morning, it was through an introduction to Maryam Masoomi, who has been an assistant music teacher at Marefat School in Afghanistan. Her stories inspired Grebinski to help get them heard in more places through the CBC Doc Project.
Since its release, people across the country have had the opportunity to listen and read Grebinski's feature The Girls Who Escaped the Taliban. The stories are both heartbreaking and uplifting.
Canada Day offered a chance to come together in person to welcome the group to our city.
Attendees of the events at River Landing in Saskatoon got to meet many of the girls who escaped, their families and the community members who have helped get them settled. This opportunity also led the way to Sounds of Afghanistan performing for the very first time on Canadian soil.