17 July 2017
Music to celebrate gathering of cultures
Picture: Calum Robertson
As published in the Hills Valley Weekly.
Written by Celeste Villani.

As Rebel forces destroyed his hometown in the early 1990s, Farid Drokhshan had no choice but to flee Afghanistan.

“Everything was gone, day by day,” Mr Drokhshan says of life in Kabul at the time.

“It got bad because they fight and would position themselves behind a mountain and would shoot the rockets, which killed a lot of people.

“But the last decision why I decided (to move) was because my brother was injured because of the rocket …. I knew it was a warning and I would have to leave soon.

“It was like gambling. I played with my life because if I was lucky I would win, if not, bad luck.”

Mr Drokhshan fled to Pakistan and then to Moscow where, in 1995, he gave his $4000 in savings to a “smuggler” who promised to get him to Europe.

“One time it was dangerous, we sat in a wagon and … we were hidden under the hay bales.

“There was about 30 people there.”

He and his fellow refugees spent large amounts of time walking across Europe – his feet feeling as though they were “covered in needles” – searching for a place to call home.

He eventually arrived in the Netherlands in 1997, and went on to become a citizen.

But he yearned to join his parents in Australia – the country that had accepted them as refugees in the late 1990s – and, in 2005, that dream became a reality.

Throughout his ordeal, he found comfort in music.

This month, he will bring the sounds of his homeland to a concert at Clarence Park’s Trinity Church as part of Refugee Week.

“Music was my best friend,” says the singer, who also plays the harmonium, or pump organ.

“You know how some people need smoking, I need music … it is my companion.”

He has passed down that passion to his son Shaheen, 8, who performs alongside him on the tabla drum.

“I like playing music for Australian people, the multicultural people, because it makes people happy,” Mr Drokhshan, of Paralowie, says. This month’s concert, Sufi Soul, will feature performers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Sufism is an Islamic idea centred around selflessness, soul searching, purity and love.

It is at Trinity Church, 318 Goodwood Rd, Clarence Park, on Friday, June 30, at 7.30pm.

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