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Qudrat Wasefi

Raised in AFCECO orphanages in Kabul, trumpet player, composer, and arranger Qudrat Wasefi (b. 1999) is fiercely committed to music as a form of resistance against repression. Since the takeover of Afghanistan, Wasefi has written and produced recordings of a number of compositions including a music video, The Children of War, in collaboration with artists across the globe, A Candle of Hope in the Darkness, recorded and streamed by professional musicians in Italy, and a string quartet performed in Melbourne, Australia. These compositions were written to keep hope alive for Afghans during this challenging time. Wasefi explains that “art and music are tools of resistance in the fight against injustice and other social matters in society”.

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Nastaran (2022)

Instrumentation: narrator, choir, flute, oboe, clarinet in Bb, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in Bb, trombone, percussion, rubab, dutar, tabla and strings

Duration: 8'

Premiere: 5 July 2022, Spitalfields Music Festival, London. Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra w/Manizha Paiman, narrator, singers from King's College London Chapel Choir and Imperial College Chamber Choir, Saphawat Simab, rubab, Shahbaz Hussain, tabla, and William Rees Hoffman, dutar. Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey, conductor

Commissioned for The Orchestral Music of Afghanistan: Looking Forward  project

About Nastaran

Nastaran is an Afghan folk song. Most musicians believe that the nagham (melody) comes from Ustad Mohamad Omar, the most legendary rubab player of Afghanistan of all time. Nastaran is a very deep piece for me, one which goes inside the valleys of Afghanistan, and twists like wave or wind frequencies surrounding the high mountains and going village to village.


The gentle minor and major modal melodies can be seen to depict the up and down aspects of living, which clearly describes the life of Afghan people.  I have created an enhanced arrangement of Nastaran and included a choir with original lyrics.


The most important meaning of this work to me is that in the past several months I have experienced things I never thought possible. Losing my country and being homeless created feelings of panic that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I have created this composition-arrangement of Nastaran to reflect what I have felt and experienced in these months. Seeing my people starving, no schools and work for girls and women, and watching the country went back a century…these were all not easy for me to believe and tolerate.

– Qudrat Wasefi, June 2022

Choir text

Razm kar-e maa

Waqt-e paikar-e maa

Saraasar-e een zamin

Perozi armaan-e maa


We stand together

It's time for battle

Everywhere on the earth

Freedom is our mission


Razm kar-e maa

Waqt-e paikar-e maa

Saraasar-e een zamin

Perozi armaan-e maa


Jadal bahr-e adaalat

Az istadagi o shuja'at

Baray-e rishakan-e jahaalat

Bar qaraari-e ensaniyat

Fight for justice

Courage and resistance

Uproot ignorance

Let the freedom a fighting chance


Freedom – Azadi – Freedom – Azadi

Azadi – Freedom – Azadi - Freedom

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