Afghan teenager braves threats to lead women's orchestra
Updated: 2016-04-18 11:17
Negin Ekhpulwak, leader of the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women, conducts during a rehearsal at Afghanistan's National Institute of Music, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 9, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
Playing instruments was banned outright during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and even today, many conservative Muslims frown on most forms of music.
Negin took her first steps learning music in secret, before eventually revealing her activity to her father. He encouraged her, but the reaction from the rest of her conservative Pashtun family was hostile.
"Apart from my father, everybody in the family is against it," she said. "They say, 'How can a Pashtun girl play music?' Especially in our tribe, where even a man doesn't have the right to do it."
Now living in an orphanage in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Negin leads the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women at the Afghanistan National Institute for Music that plays both Western and Afghan musical instruments.