October 29, 2015
The Youth Orchestra of the Afghan National Institute of Music (ANIM) performed a concert of Afghan and American songs at the U.S. Embassy on October 29. After their one-hour performance, ANIM premiered a film that documents the Youth Orchestra’s 2013 musical tour in the United States. The documentary features many of the highlights of the orchestra’s U.S. tour, including performances at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Carnegie Hall in New York City, as well as a visit to the White House.
During the concert at the U.S. Embassy, ANIM’s musicians played the Afghan classics, “Sultane Qalbha,” and “Anar Anar,” as well as beloved American songs, “Home on the Range,” “What a Wonderful World,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The orchestra performed for an audience that included U.S. embassy staff, American musicians, the families of the Youth Orchestra members, the Director of ANIM, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, and Assistant Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy Michael Raynor.
Speaking to the musicians and the audience, Ambassador Raynor said, “The Institute is committed to providing quality music education to the youth of Afghanistan. It is also an equal opportunity institution, offering instruction to both male and female students, offering a world of hope, opportunity, and music to all. ANIM serves as a steward of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage by ensuring rich Afghan musical traditions are passed to new generations.”
When ANIM’s musical ambassadors visited the Department of State in 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the participants of the tour, “Music is the international language of peace and of possibilities and dreams.”
ANIM was inaugurated in 2010, as a result of cooperation between the Afghan government, the donor community, and the hard work and vision of Dr. Sarmast. ANIM’ musicians have represented the music and culture of Afghanistan in the United States Argentina, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, South Korea, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan. ANIM proves the power of music in bringing about social changes, economic development, poverty alleviation, and gender and ethnic equality while promoting a democratic and open-minded society.