Griffith University: The Con leads global concert series in support of Afghan musicians

Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University has launched the first in a series of concerts to be held around the world in support of musicians and artists in Afghanistan.

The global concert series, Love Songs for Afghanistan, will connect and unite people from around the world who are sending messages of solidarity, courage, peace and love to those who face renewed threats from the Taliban.


Queensland Conservatorium Deputy Director (Research) Dr Alexis Anja Kallio created the concert series and has spent her career researching the links between music and political oppression.

“Throughout history, music has been a powerful way for people to express who we are but also what kind of society we want to be a part of,” she said.

“This also makes musicians particularly vulnerable to human rights violations during times of conflict and political upheaval.

“There have already been reports from Afghanistan of musicians burning their instruments, not out of fear of their livelihoods, but their lives.”

Dominic Kingsford is completing a PhD in jazz and classical composition at the Queensland Conservatorium and helped organise the concert series.

“That I can return to my house, sleep in my bed, and feel safe knowing that my art is not under attack or that I am a target is a privilege,” he said.


The Afghan Women’s Orchestra “Zohra” from Kabul
“Acknowledging that privilege means I have to stand up for sovereignty, autonomy, democracy and freedom – as I would hope others would do for me.”

The Queensland Conservatorium will host the first concert on Tuesday 28 September, in support of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

The concert has inspired a global series, with the next Love Songs for Afghanistan event to be hosted by the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo Norway on October 14 before travelling to cities and music institutions in Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Finland and other countries.

The Brisbane concert brings together students, staff, and alumni, with special guest speaker Dr Rita Anwari, founding Director of Women Empowerment and Leadership in Australia and a former international adviser to the Minister of Women Affairs in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

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