The Story

This songbook project began in 1966. Louise Pascale, a United States Peace Corps volunteer lived in Kabul, Afghanistan and worked with Afghan poets and musicians to create a children’s songbook to be distributed to the schools in Kabul. Once she collected the songs, she traveled to schools and taught them to the children and had them draw pictures to go with each song. In 1968 the songbook with the children’s illustrations was published by the Kabul Press.

Many years later, in 2003, Louise found her worn and faded copy of the songbook in her bookcase and realized, due to the turmoil and strife that had afflicted Afghanistan, that most likely her copy of the songbook was the only one left in existence. At that point, she made a commitment to return the songs, now almost completely lost from the culture, back to the children of Afghanistan. It was at that moment that the Songbook Project began.

After contacting hundreds of individuals and organizations, Louise was fortunate to be introduced to a well-known and respected Afghan musician from Toronto, Canada, Vaheed Kaacemy.  Vaheed recognized the value and need for such a project and was willing to work with Afghan children to record the songs. After hours of work, researching, arranging and rehearsing the songs, he recorded 16 songs, in Farsi, Pushto, Uzbeki and Hazara. Eight of the songs are from the original songbook. The others were collected and/or composed by Mr. Kaacemy.

Louise was also introduced to Arsalan Lutfi, of TriVision Studios in Burke, Virginia, U.S.A. Arsalan generously agreed to coordinate the production of the songbook.

This songbook contains a 60 minute CD of sixteen songs and an accompanying booklet with the lyrics and original children’s drawings. It was Louise’s dream to return the songs to the children of Afghanistan so that the songs would continue to live on in the lives of Afghan children.  We hope that this songbook encourages children and their families across Afghanistan to sing for years to come. Thank you to the many, many generous supporter, friends and family who helped make this songbook become a reality.

Index of Songs

1. Alphabet Song Listen

Composer: Vaheed Kaacemy

2/3 Ali Baba Listen

Composer: Ustad Ghulam Hussein,
Poet/lyrics: old children’s literature. (sung on recording with full chorus and again with 3 year old)

4. Salam, Salam (Hazara song) Listen

Hello, hello
Composer: Safdar Tawaquali,
Poet: Ghaiali Danish

5. Kisai e Nan (Children’s Traditional chant) Listen

Bread Story

6. Topak e Khal khali (Traditional children’s song) Listen

The ball song

7. Debodai Taal (Pashto song) Listen

Grandmother swings
Composer: Vaheed Kaacemy,
Poet: Traditional children’s literature

8. Gijz Gijz Don (Uzbeki song) Listen

Traditional children’s song

9. Gunjishkak e Tilaee (Traditional children’s lyrics) Listen

Little Golden Bird
Composer Ustad Ghulam Hussein

10. Qu Qu Qu Barg –e- Chinaar (Traditional children’s chant) Listen

Mulberry tree leaf

11. Ghochie Ghochie (Traditional children’s literature) Listen

Little singing bird
Composer: Ustad Ghulam Hussein

12. Baba Sanjirbaaf (Traditional children’s chant) Listen

Baba who braids chains

13. Taranhe Solangi Listen

Solangi song

14. Taraneh e Bahar Listen

Spring Song
Composer: Ustad Ghulam Hussein
Poet: Mohammed Asef Mahel

15. Ketab Listen

The book
Composer: Vaheed Kaacemy,
Poet – unknown

16. Satara jan Listen

Sweet Star
Composer: Vaheed Kaacemy,
Poet: Yassim Farkharie

17. Momardom e Afghanem Listen

We are Afghan People
Composer: Ustad Ghulam Hussein,
Poet: unknown

18-33 Instrumental