To millions of hardline Muslims, music is against Islam — any music but the muezzin’s call. It could lead to joy… and sometimes even dancing. And so,
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 [Ikhpolwak, 19 years old] took her first steps learning the piano 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.”