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Talented Musician Meena Karimi: A Voice for Afghanistan’s Youth, Part 1 of 2

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Meena Karimi is a gifted 16-year-old cellist and composer from Afghanistan. Today, we have the privilege of inviting the lovely Meena Karimi to share her story with us.

“Afghanistan has a really rich musical history. What really makes it rich is that the melodies are a combination of Persian melodies with Indian melodies. But when you hear an Afghan song, it totally feels different. It has its own taste and type. And what really makes it more special is that each of our provinces in Afghanistan has their own type of music.”

Besides the cello, Meena also plays a bowed instrument called the dilruba. The dilruba is said to have been invented by the venerated Sri Guru Gobind Singh (vegetarian), the 10th Sikh Guru, in the 17th century, and is significant in Sikh history.

Afghanistan’s rich musical culture is threatened by the Taliban’s ban on music since their return to power in 2021. “And it’s really heartbreaking to know that our young generation in Afghanistan grows without music. Because music opens up a lot of perspective for you to see the world, helps you to understand and tell stories, and be connected more with people outside.”

As a member of the Zohra Orchestra, Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra, Meena Karimi has performed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the British Museum in London, UK, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Meena has also worked with youth groups from Portugal’s Orquestra Divino Sospiro and Beyond Skin, an intersectional art collective in Northern Ireland.

“I get to raise awareness internationally with my music. I get to also give hope for my people that I am with them. Even though right now, I might be really far, but my heart is still in Afghanistan. And I’ll do my best with my music. I’ll do as much as I can to help them and give them help, and to tell them that – ‘Never give up.’ These hard days will definitely end one day.”
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