Herat Films: The Annual Cycle of Music in Herat

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© Baily
54 minutes / Colour / 1983
Directed by
John Baily

Country of production United Kingdom

These videos were edited from seven hours of Super 8 film shot by John Baily during two years of ethnomusicological fieldwork carried out in the Herat region of western Afghanistan between 1973 and 1977. The footage was transferred and edited at the TV Unit of Queen’s University Belfast 1981-82. The non-synchronous sound is a problem at certain moments, but overall the editing has made the best of the image and sound available. All three films have a substantial amount of voice-over commentary. The films are of special interest because of the damage suffered by this region during many years of civil war. (This is the city referred to so poignantly in Baily’s later film Amir.) The Annual Cycla of Music in Herat includes performances of a variety of traditional genres of music and dance. These include sha’er-s (poets) exchanging extemporised quatrains, sorna and dohol (shawn and drum), dutar (long-necked lute) band, nai chaponi (shepherd’s flute), chahartar (long-necked lute), male singer with daireh (frame drum) and Chelu musicians singing and playing sarang (fiddle), tal (small cymbals) and daireh. Dances include atan, aushari and chub bazi.

Language and subtitles English (no subtitles)

Region Middle and Near East

Country Afghanistan

Keywords Dance / Theatre / Performance Music / Ethnomusicology