Qais Essar, international artist, composer, producer, educator and experienced live performer, carries on the traditional legacy of classical Afghan instrumentation. A student of both classical and traditional forms of Afghan/Indian and western music, Essar is able to present the Rabab with a fresh new perspective. His innovative approach to musical composition and presentation combined with his media savvy presence makes him a rare breed of artist in the classical music world. In the same vein, the richness of his classical music training and the depth of his responsibility to preserve the culture of his war-torn motherland make his music and narrative exceptionally compelling among young, independent musicians.
Essar, having performed in countries all over the world (including Somalia, Kenya, Brazil, and Canada) has collaborated with many prominent artists and masters, covering the musical spectrum. With the premiere of The Green Language (his new album on July 29, 2014, a #1 bestseller on Amazon.com), Essar transports listeners through a sonic time portal from the ancient Hindu Kush to the modern era. With The Green Language, Essar sets his sights on bringing Afghan traditional sounds into the global music frontier, presenting a more modern, sensual, and hungry take on performing Rabab for a world audience than we have ever heard before. Essar followed the release of The Green Language with Klasik (EP), I am Afghan, Afghani is Currency (EP), and critically acclaimed sophomore release, Tavern of Ruin (LP). Recently, Essar joined forces with International Alert, one of the world’s leading peacebuilding organizations, with nearly 30 years of experience laying the foundations for peace, collaborating on a track with Phillip Glass, ABBA, and other well-known artists.
The Rabab, an Afghan lute instrument, originating in Central Asia, can be dated back 2500 years. It is mentioned in countless works of Sufi poetry, having then, and continuing to still ensnare the hearts of its audience, with its charming and sweet tones used either in a classical or folk fashion. The pride of its people, it is carefully crafted from the finest wood, harvested from the mulberry trees native to Afghanistan, goat skin stretched across the top. With 3 core strings, 2-3 drone strings, and 11-15 sympathetic strings, depending on its size (tuned to the specific raga), its struck with a wooden plectrum, producing a deep ambient timbre, unrivaled.