Return of the Nightingales


2013 / 33 minutes

Directed by
John Baily
Country of production
United Kingdom

In 2010 Afghan musicologist Dr. Ahmad Sarmast opened the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), a coeducational vocational music school in Kabul that teaches Afghan, Indian and Western music. In 2011 the Society for Education, Music and Music Education (SEMPRE), an organisation that was offering financial support for ANIM staff development, sent ethnomusicologist and film-maker John Baily to visit the school. Made in the observational cinema style, the film provides a lyrical portrayal of the school’s activities, with an emphasis on the teaching, rehearsal and performance of the music, building up to a performance of Ravel’s Bolero for the visiting Swedish Ambassador. The film projects a very positive image of young people in Afghanistan today, challenging the usual negative stereotypes favoured by Western media.

Language and subtitles
English (no subtitles)
South Asia
Music / Ethnomusicology Education / Knowledge Transmission Children / Young people