Qbus Muziekhuis

Middelstegracht 123, Leiden



dex, aga khan foundation

13 May - Badakshan Ensemble – Vibrant traditional music from the Pamir Mountains


Vibrant traditional songs and music from the Pamir Mountains
The Badakhshan Ensemble takes its name from the mountainous region – poetically known in Persian as Bam-i Dunya, the “Roof of the World” – that comprises the sparsely populated eastern half of Tajikistan and northeast Afghanistan. There, in the Pamir Mountains, a vibrant tradition of devotional song, dance, and contemplative instrumental music has been cultivated.Trance-like rhythms and piercing melodies propel these vivid performances.


Badakhshani music and dance represent a distinct cultural practice within Central Asia. The so-called Pamiri languages belong to the Eastern Iranian family of languages but are distinct from Persian and are not used in a literary form.
Orally composed folksong texts in Pamiri languages are common in Badakhshan, but the literary texts typically set to music in spiritual songs are drawn from classical Persian or modern Tajik, an eastern dialect of Persian.


Many if not most Badakhshanis are Shia Ismaili Muslims, and the Ismaili spiritual and devotional tradition has had a strong and abiding influence on Pamiri expressive culture. Ismaili communities have existed in the Pamir Mountains for close to a millennium.


The Badakhshan Ensemble’s repertory encompasses a variety of musical styles and genres. The line-up is:

  • Sohiba Davlatshoeva – Vocal, Daf, Dance
  • Aqnazar Alovatov – Vocals, Pamiri Rubab
  • Mukhtor Muborakadamov – Pamiri Setar
  • Khushbakht Niyozov – Afghan Rubab, Daf

The Baakhshan Ensemble is also on youtube. You can listen to one of their songs by clicking this link. 


The concert of Badakhshan Ensemble is presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. 

Entrance: 15 (door) / 12.50 (pre sale, via internet only)