Saturday, February 1, 2020

Folk Music of Afghanistan -- an LP recorded in Afghanistan in 1966-67 and released in the US in 1971

Another vinyl transfer from the Boston Public Library via the Internet Archive and restored by me. This LP was later reissued with additional music, but that compact disc is now unavailable except in the second hand market.

Of note is that the list price of this LP was $5.95 in 1970, which in inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars is about $40. This, interestingly, is about what used copies are listed at on (US sellers only, for a fair comparison).

Economists playfully use something called a "Big Mac Index," which measures purchasing power among various world currencies by comparing the cost of a rather disgusting Big Mac sandwich at McDonalds "restaurants" around the world. We can do the same with comparing 1970 USD vs 2020 USD... the price of a Big Mac sandwich was 49 cents in 1970 and $5.74 (average) in mid-2019. Therefore the method results in a 2020 retail list price for this LP of right around $70.

Another way of looking at it is that in 1970, if one had $6, one could purchase either 12 Big Macs or this LP. Therefore we again derive a theoretical retail list price of this album today of around $70. Keep that in mind when people scoff at paying $20 for a newly-issued LP.

A1 Pashtu Landay
Lute [Dambura], Voice – Alladad
Voice – Painda Gul 2:18
recorded in Deh Raud on November 10, 1966

A2 Pashtu Ghazal
Rabab [Robab] – Zahir Jan
Voice – Musa Jan 4:43
recorded in Bakhtu on October 31, 1966

A3 Pashtu Ensemble
Drum [Zerbaghali] – Shazad
Harmonium, Voice – Mira Jan
Rabab – Yar Mohammad
Tabla – Baz Mohammad 4:50
recorded in Tirin on November 8, 1966

A4 Babulala
Lute [Dambura], Voice – Alladad
Voice – Painda Gul 3:09
recorded in Deh Raud on November 10, 1966

A5 Song From Nangarhar 2:50
recorded in Kama on February 9, 1967

A6 Sorna And Dhol
Dhol – Baydo
Horn [Sorna] – Saydo 6:03
recorded in Dadshan on March 6, 1967

B1 Char Bayti
Voice – Habibullah 1:17
recorded in Nehshin on March 7, 1967

B2 Herat Ensemble
Drum [Zerbaghali] – Ghausuddin
Lute [Dotar] – Khan Mohammad
Performer [Tasak], Voice – Mohammad Rahim 2:56
recorded in Qala-i Rig, Zindajan district on March 9, 1967

B3 Olang Olang
Drum [Dayra], Voice – Baba Moqim 2:44
recorded in Qala-i Rig, Zindajan district on March 9, 1967

B4 Song From Northern Herat
Lute [Dotar], Voice – Mullah Haqdad 3:43
recorded in Qara Bagh, Gulran district on March 13, 1967

B5 Tula
Flute [Tula] – Mohammad Akbar 2:16
recorded in Qara Bagh, Gulran district on March 13, 1967

B6 Ghichak And Zerbaghali
Drum [Zerbaghali] – Abdul Qadir
Fiddle [Ghichak] – Mohammad Nazar 4:10
recorded in Balkh on March 27, 1967

B7 Ensemble Of Northern Afghanistan
Drum [Zerbaghali] – Mohammad Rahim
Lute [Dambura], Voice – Khaistamir
Performer [Tasak], Voice – Sayid Murad 6:44
recorded in Sholgera on March 26, 1967

Recorded By – Lorraine Sakata, Tom Sakata

Tom Sakata worked for Boeing as an engineer and interrupted his career several times so that he could accompany (and protect) his ethnomusicologist wife on long trips to Afghanistan in the 1960s.

Lorraine grew up in California and spent several years as a child growing up in an internment camp in the United States during the second World War. She first studied the piano as well as traditional Japanese instruments. After that she closely studied South Indian classical music, becoming a student of T. Ranganathan and S. Ramanathan. She wrote her Masters thesis on the topic of varnam.

A very good 2016 interview with Sakata focusing on her life and career is available here.

An excellent LP transfer of folk music from Afghanistan is available at the fantastic "MusicRepublic" blog.

The République Musique blog is certainly the best currently-active general world music blog of which I am aware. Go there and download everything and revel in the musical treasures being obtained, preserved and shared!

A different transfer of the same LP is available here.

The second volume is available as a vinyl transfer here.

A transfer of a wonderful and extremely rare Japanese 5-LP set of Afghan folk music is still available at the "Oriental Traditional Music" blog.

Dozens of other transfers of cassettes and LPs of music from Afghanistan are available from the "Oriental Traditional Music" blog here.

The blogger who maintained the above-mentioned blog is now deceased and I strongly urge you to visit his blog and download everything you might remotely be interested in before the hosted links expire.


higher-than-standard-CD resolution files

after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR

highest quality mp3 files possible


  1. Thank you very much for the music diamonds that you share with us.
    keep up the good work!! :)

  2. thank so much this is a great record i have a beat up vinyl so iam glad to get this