Ensemble Afghan

Ensemble Afghan


Traditional Afghan music of the time before the insanity of the Taliban played on old instruments and traditional dance. It comprises from the Ghazal, old love songs to contemporary songs of the pre war time. Introduction of instruments and music can be given in English, German, French and Italian.


With the raising turmoil and the aggressive Islamisation in their father’s lands music and dance got forbidden, musicians were even killed, the cultural heritage destroyed. The only way to preserve is to perform for the Afghans living in exile and interested Westerners. And here it is the best when the Afghans present in the audiance just get up and dance with this grooving music.

The “Ensemble Afghan” was founded by Zohreh Jooya and Ustad (Master) Sobeir Bachtiar. Then the famous Afghan singer Ustad Hussain Arman and his son Khaled Arman from the legendary “Ensemble Radio Kabul” joined. The group has performed on big venues and festivals all over the world, like the Folk Festival in Rudolstadt, Queen Elisabeth Hall in London, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Salam Islam in Vienna, Konzert Hus in Stockholm, The American Japanese Theater in Los Angeles, the Arena in Oberhausen, Festivale Regione de Guerra in Rome, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Art Festival North of Norway, Festival Monde d'Arab in Montreal, etc.

All the members do have an academic music education from European universities. Hence besides performing they also pursue an scientific goal in preserving this lost art of traditional music by collecting the bids and pieces of remaining old lyrics and songs, put them in writing, rearrange and produce this music. This has lead to the many publications of the Ensemble Afghan.

Zohreh Jooya, vocals
She was raised in a mixed Afghan/Iranian family. Against the will of her parents she moved to Europe to study music. Beginning in Amsterdam she then came to Vienna where she has received a classical music education on the Academy of Music and earned a MA degree. ARC Music has published her albums “Music of the Persian Mystics” composed and featured by the virtuoso on the tar Ustad Majid Derakhshani and “Songs from Afghanistan” and Afghan Music introducing the once flourishing music tradition in Kabul and Herat. Regarding her engagement for women rights in Afghanistan she acted at the theatre production “Land with no Words”, a political drama which covers the suffering of Afghan women by the aftermath of the 50 year war time in Afghanistan.

Her newest project is with the conductor Alice Hendrix where she sings a solo part in Stabat Mater, a religious oratorium with the Limbourg Symphonic Orchestra

Ustad (Master) Hossein Arman, vocals, harmonium and composition
Already as a boy he was in love with music. Music was of very low reputation and his father was heavily against it. So he secretly started out to learn the Tula, a bamboo flute which was easy to hide when he went out in the fields to practice secretly. Later he became a member of Kabul's first official theatre where he sang when the sets where changed and worked in the music archive of the Radio Kabul. He then was sent to Belgrade where he studied on the University Fine Arts.

Coming back he became a member of the orchestra of Radio Kabul and started to teach at the Lyceum of Music. In his time he was one the few who studied music in the West and knows how to write songs. In 1992 after the departure of the Soviets and the arrival of the Mujahiddin the Lyceum and the University of Fine Arts was closed. The Taliban reinforced the ban of singing with the dead penalty so he had to leave the country with his family. He was a singer and composer of high reputation in Afghanistan. Arriving in Europe he formed the legendary Ensemble Kabul together with his son Khaled and toured the world as ambassadors of traditional Afghan music.

He is the last of his kind knowing hundreds of traditional songs one has to preserve for future generations. All his fellow teachers died either in exile or in Afghanistan after living a desperate live in poverty.

Ustad Daud Khan Sadozai, robab, sarod
was born in Kabul/Afghanistan. He studied Robab with Ustad Muhammad Umar, who was the most famous Afghan robab-interpreter. The knowledge of playing the Robab has become rare, and only a few artists still keep this classical tradition. Daud Khan is considered the world wide best robab players of this authentic style of his master’s school. He also has studied the North-Indian instrument Sarod, with the great Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in India who also founded the Academy of Indian Music in Cologne which Daud Khan is heading.
He is frequently performing all over Europe and participating in big international music-festivals. He introduced his style on a USA tour in 2005. He took part in concerts with the well-known instrumentalist Jordi Savall and participated in many CD-productions as instrumentalist. He performed many times live German TV and radio-programs. In India he was honoured twice with the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award (1988/1995).

Ustad Sobeir Bachtiar, robab, harnmonium
Born in Kabul came to Vienna where he graduated with diplomas in classical trumpet and compositions. He now concerns himself more and more with the music of his count


Man Mast o to Divana

Written By: Molana Rumi

I asked, “Where do you come from?” He answered with a smile,
“My dear, one half is from Turkistan, the other half is from Tajikistan,
One half is of water and mud, the other half is of spirit and heart
Half is of the ocean’s shore and the rest is all of pearls.”
I asked, “Since we are related be my friend”
He answered, “I do not differentiate between relatives and strangers”


Zohreh Jooya's releases:
Journey to Persia, ARC Music Int. Ltd, 2013
Taraneye Afghanestan, Taraneh Music Intern. 2012
Afghan Music, ARC Music Int. Ltd., 2010
Old Roots, New Leaves, Taraneh Music Intern., 2009
La Double Absence, Staubgold, 2008
Tshohar e Eshgh, Taraneh Music Intern., 2007
Taraneh e Afghan, Taraneh Music Intern., 2007
Persian Nights, ARC Music Int. Ltd., 2006
Music of the Silk Road, ARC Music Int. Ltd., 2005
Songs from Afghanistan, ARC Music Int. Ltd., 2004,
Music of the Persian Mystics, ARC Music Int. Ltd., 2003
Epos of Nezami, Farhad va Shirin, Ensemble Parnaz, 2001
Journey to Persia, Koch International, 1998

Set List

Mikham beram Ku; Man mast va to divana; Dokhtare Bagh; Ai Bote Beram; O Jar katit kar daram; Hazaraghi song with dance; Ma gol warta satelle di; Leily jan; Zim, zim, zim; Molla Mamadjan; Jame Narenji; Dolktare Kuci;