#DoSomethingDoap with Qais Essar

April 26, 2018 Shiva Shakti

{ { { • } } }

Qais Essar is a contemporary Afghan composer, instrumentalist and producer who channels his melodic designs through the rabab, a 2,500 year old instrument from Afghanistan. Sharing his original music nationally and internationally, Qais has birthed a new genre by merging his Afghan roots and unique flavor with his eastern and western classical training. 

What motivates you to practice rabab?
What was once early on a pursuit of technical proficiency, practice became a refuge - my portal out. There is something pure there. There is a warmth.
How did it all begin?
Music was the one constant in life, and showing promise, I began to formally learn under the tutelage and guidance of teachers of north western and eastern classical music at a very early age. I had tried my hand at a few different instruments before the rabab, but it was not until the rabab where I felt like I had found my voice. From there I began to forge a deep and lasting bond with the instrument.

How does playing rabab impact your life?

My life is designed around the rabab. We all revolve around the rabab. When it’s not physically in my hands, it is very much on my mind. Its allowed me to tell vivid stories, it’s taken me around the world, and given me the experiences that I could not have imagined. So naturally, in service, my mission is to make sure this instrument is heard.

How does your passion impact the world?

Well I don’t know really how I could impact the world in any way, but I suppose that if a young afghan kid wanted to grow up and make weird music, they could see that I’m doing it. I never had that growing up - that kind of representation. Maybe the rabab will reach a few more ears, and ignite a few more hearts… who knows.

The sorrow expressed here as a result of the bombings and strife in his homeland reveals to us the unfortunate issues at present day that have culminated across the ages, despite the unwavering longing for peace. 

What advice would you give to our doapsoapers?

Support the arts, it’s the purveyor of culture.

“When I approach composition, I do it as two different musicians -as the musician trained and versed in eastern music, and as the musician trained and versed in western music. Being able to see with two different perspectives both independently at the same time, and to be able to see where and how they come together puts me at an advantage to offer a never before heard amalgam.”

{ { { • } } }

Make sure to check out his new album The Ghost You Love Most released on April 13th this year. Qais says “This is the most complete artistic statement I have made to date. It took a couple LP’s and a few EP’s to create the genre, and now I having paved the way – I am able to confidently put forth a piece of a work that is the culmination of all my artistic endeavors. Along with the assemblage of talented musicians and featured artists, it’s made for an unprecedented sonic tapestry.”


Aside from his steadfast pursuit and practice of the rabab and music, Qais also enjoys bike rides. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


Leave a comment