I have not had this much excitement over a discovery of a new band since my friend dragged me to see the Japanese Punk band Peelander-Z who bill themselves as a “Japanese Action Comic Punk band hailing from the Z area of Planet Peelander”. Each member is dressed in a Power Rangers style costumes with hard plastic colored wigs to match and name themselves after each color: Peelander Blue, red and Yellow. They have one of the craziest and funniest stage acts and songs. I’ll have to right about them another time. Look them up on YouTube although you have to see them live to really appreciate them. It’s like watching rocky Horror on television instead of the movie theater or worse: listening to the soundtrack without ever seeing the movie at all.
This article is about my latest discovery. It’s about the controversial Afghan all girl pop punk trio called the Blue Burka Band. The band had a short career in 2003 because in Afghanistan music and dancing was forbidden under the Taliban rule. Afghanistan still considers girls playing music and singing as even more of a disgrace.
These three girls draped in their blue burkas blare their rebellious and hilarious songs like pros. Their style has been compared to the 1980’s band Bananarama. They do the standard simple steps, microphone and guitars swinging but between the satirical and political lyrics and pop punk music they are not just your average girl band. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the burkas that not only make a political statement, show their sense of humor and mystery but hide them from their audience, the media and their potential oppressors and enemies.
They sing songs making fun of the Afghanistan oppressors and the burkas them selves. Their biggest hit is a song called Blue Burka with lyrics like “You give me all your love, you give me all your kisses, and then you touch my burka, and don’t know who it is…”
Unlike the rock n roll legend KISS who kept their secret identities in the 1970’s for the novelty and the anonymity in public, the Blue Burka Band stay under their burkas hide their identity from the authorities of Afghanistan. Their very existence was and stil can be dangerous on multiple levels. The were breaking “laws” by being women singing in a band, making fun of the ruling class, wearing the burkas to mock the oppression of women in Afghanistan.
They recorded their single in Germany in 2003 and played shows in Europe when they could. Despite the changes in the following years they still won’t play in Afghanistan and are pretty much staying underground waiting for the right time to emerge again. According to the singer to this day there are only 10 people in Afghanistan that know their real identity.
Unfortunately the only way to see their video these days is on YouTube. One day they hope to get back on the road and record. I can’t wait. I hope they grace the stages of the United States or I might have to break down and get a passport.