Tablas and Drum Machines: Afghan Music in California


2001 / 58 minutes

Directed by
John Baily
Country of production
United Kingdom

Ethnomusicologist John Baily visits Fremont, California, the new home of the large community of exiled Afghans. He is joined by Kabuli master-musician, Ustad Asif Mahmoud, who plans to open a small private music school to teach traditional tabla drumming to young Afghans. However, Fremont is also a centre of musical innovation, with electronic keyboards and their built-in drum machines. In a series of in context performances we witness the co-existence of traditional and modern Afghan music and the dancing that goes with them both.

Language and subtitles
Original Language with English Subtitles
North America
United States
Music / Ethnomusicology Education / Knowledge transmission Refugees / Displaced populations