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In a powerful act of defiance against the Taliban’s oppression of art and culture in Afghanistan, a group of the country’s most prominent musicians and performers will be taking the stage in West London this June. Despite the ban imposed by the Taliban, the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA) is organizing a musical celebration at Cranford Community College in Hounslow on Sunday, 23rd June.

Headlining the event is the renowned singer-songwriter Ghezaal Enayat, who gained fame with her chart-topping hit ‘Dil-e-Beqarar’ before being forced to leave her homeland and settle in Canada. Joining her are other exiled Afghan performers including singers Hashmat Ehsanmand, Hamid Erfan, and Timor Shaidaie, as well as the dance duo Anja Samim. The festival will be hosted by Nazira Karimi, a respected Afghan journalist based in the United States.

This year’s festival, themed ‘Our Home’, marks almost three years since the Taliban’s seizure of power and their subsequent crackdown, which resulted in the displacement of 8 million people. The event serves as a triumphant celebration of creativity and resilience, highlighting the strength and talent of those forced to rebuild their lives far from their homeland.

Now in its fifth year, the annual event organized by ACAA has gained recognition and support from the UK Arts Council, providing a platform for Afghan artists to showcase their talents and express their cultural heritage. It offers a unique opportunity for the wider community to experience the rich artistry and profound stories of these exiled performers, while shedding light on the devastating impact of the Taliban’s oppressive regime.

Through music, dance, and storytelling, the festival serves as a reminder that art has the power to transcend borders and defy tyranny. By amplifying the voices of these exiled artists, the event seeks to inspire hope and unity, fostering a renewed appreciation for Afghan art and culture. It stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of Afghan artists and the enduring value of artistic expression.