Berlin, January 2017 – Dr Ahmad Sarmast, Zarifa Adiba, Negin Khapalwak

“I am a girl, a tree in the sun.
I am the messenger from the land of hope.
As I walk, spring appears around me,
The walls around me turn into garden gates.”
“Zohra” is a music goddess in Persian literature – the perfect name for the very first Women´s Orchestra in Afghanistan. This ensemble, made up of 30 girls aged 13-20, touched my heart during our day together in Berlin. What brave and inspirational young ladies they are!
The ensemble was founded by the visionary Dr Ahmed Sarmast, head of the ANIM and this is the first time the ensemble has been on tour. A huge security undertaking, as I´m sure you can imagine. After a huge success at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the girls were celebrated like popstars wherever they went. They were all a little media-weary and I am so grateful to Dr Sarmast, Zarifa and Negin for taking the time to talk to me during their busy day.
Showing the girls my musical home, the Philharmonie, was a wonderful experience- they had never seen anything like it and we had a lot of fun sitting on the stage together. I wonder if Negin or Zarifa will ever conduct there? I certainly hope so!