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Musical group that escaped Taliban shares first Canadian public performance on July 1

After a harrowing journey that brought them to safety in Saskatoon, some members of the musical group Sound of Afghanistan had their first public performance as a group on Canadian soil.

Their singing made them a target. Their music teacher found them safety in Saskatoon

Members of the group Sounds of Afghanistan pose with CBC Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski. (Candice Lipski/CBC)

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.

Sounds of Afghanistan makes their Canadian debut

3 months ago
Duration 0:15
Musical performers from Afghanistan's Marefat School perform for the very first time on Canada Day in Saskatoon.

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?

Leisha Grebinski with Maryam Masoomi and Tamanna Sarwari (Candice Lipski/CBC)

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taron Cochrane

Senior Communications Officer

Taron Cochrane is a Senior Communications Officer with CBC Saskatchewan, CBC Saskatoon and CBC North. If it involves music, it probably interests him. Email taron.cochrane@cbc.ca

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