Mon, Feb 20, 2017 | updated 07:13 AM IST

Singing for a better future: Yuva Beats, the Afghan Refugee band

Updated: Aug 18, 2016 14:38 IST

By Vinamrata Takia

New Delhi, Aug.18 (ANI): Music has the power to heal and bring peace to people. In 2009, during a talent hunt contest organized by UNHCR and hosted by Don Bosco School, Afghan refugee band Yuva Beats participated and was spotted as having some potential talent. Since then, the band has never looked back and started its musical journey in Delhi.

It's been seven years since Yuva Beats established itself. At present, the band has five members and plays pop, rock, Afghani music, Bollywood, Sufi and some self-compositions. The band also uses traditional Afghani instruments like the Rubaab, Damboora, and Zerbaghali in their concerts. Band members cherish the fact that they can play their brand of music freely in India.

"People over here love music; they respect the artistes and their artistry. In Afghanistan too there are people who love and respect music, but they exist in a very less number. Most of the people in Afghanistan are in depression, so they don't see value in their own work, because of which they don't appreciate other people's efforts," said Hameed, the lead vocalist and composer of the band.

India is a home to about two lakh refugees, with the Afghans numbering approximately 10,000 out of the total refugee population. The pain of leaving their homeland and living in a foreign country is both traumatic and estranged.

Recollecting the time when he had to leave his homeland, Masih, the piano player of the band, said: "When I left Afghanistan and came here, I was feeling really bad. I felt very strange and thought that now I have to spend my life in a foreign country. But slowly things are getting better. Even now the situation is Afghanistan has not improved, it is as same as before. Life is very difficult in Afghanistan, especially for musicians."

Bollywood songs and movies are very popular in Afghanistan. Hameed remembers growing up listening to Hindi film songs and said he would love to make music for the Bollywood music industry, if given a chance. Music cannot be practiced in Afghanistan due to restrictions, but through their music the band members want to generate hope and peace in India.

The band survives on shows and concerts. They also play at Afghani weddings and parties.

The members are hoping for a better and peaceful Afghanistan.

"Even if our country matches the level of India in terms of development and peace then it will be great. Because we are spending our lives peacefully in India, and the Indian people have a positive attitude towards us," said Hameed. (ANI)

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