May 12, 2022

"Can You Stop the Birds from Singing"
Preserving Afghan Music

with Louise Pascale

7 - 8:30pm EDT

online via Zoom

$10 is suggested but any amount is appreciated.

Donations support these events, leaders, musicians, and the Folk Arts Center.

Download resources from this presentation.

About the Program

As a former Peace Corps volunteer and teacher in Afghanistan in the ‘60s, Louise Pascale delighted in the vibrant music of the Afghan culture. But as instability and political unrest took over Afghanistan in the ‘80s, Afghan music was an early casualty. Far-reaching music censorship meant mothers were no longer allowed to even hum to their babies. In the midst of those silent years, Pascale – now a music educator – recreated an Afghan music book, capturing the magic from so many years before, and journeyed overseas to return traditional music back to the Afghan children.

In this presention, Louise will take us on her journey of bringing the music back into the hearts and souls of the people it belongs to, both in the 1980s and continuing today.

About Louise

In the 1960s, Louise Pascale was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan. Working with Afghan poets and musicians, she created a children’s songbook, meant to be shared with schools in Kabul. Traveling throughout the country, Pascale taught the songs to school children and encouraged them to draw pictures for each song. The book was published in 1968, with the children’s illustrations alongside.

Decades later Pascale came across her dog-eared copy of the songbook and realized that years of unrest in Afghanistan probably meant her book was the only copy left. Knowing how vital the songs were to the Afghan culture, she vowed to return the songs to the people of Afghanistan. Thus, Pascale became the founder and director of the Afghan Children’s Songbook project, an initiative that strives to preserve and redistribute traditional Afghan children’s songs that were almost completely eradicated due to the devastation and music censorship that afflicted Afghanistan for almost 30 years.