Afghanistan’s first heavy metal band is District Unknown, a group who taught themselves to play with more enthusiasm than musicality. Discovered in 2009 by musician and filmmaker Travis Beard, he followed them with his camera from early on and coached them in developing their career. However, musical progress is not the only challenge they face: rock music is seen as satanic by religious fanatics in Afghanistan and its practitioners are targeted. The documentary therefore mainly plays out in Kabul’s underground music scene, i.e. cramped practice pads and living rooms, but also at the unique Sound Central music festival.
District Unknown are now famous far beyond their country’s borders, but their popularity also increases the danger for the band’s members, who – just like every other inhabitant of Kabul – have to deal with daily bombings and firefights. Is their love of country, band and family stronger than the call of a more normal life abroad?
Part of Scopitone Cafe, an eclectic mix of documentaries about music and how it is experienced. Stick around for a Q&A with the filmmakers and leading role actor and live music by metal band Lewinksi. The bar is open! Free admission on Thu 1 Feb.