Rubab and music from Afghanistan

Mathieu Clavel

Asia | New classes

Afghanistan is a land of mystery, set at the crossroads of Indian, Persian and Turkic cultures, the cradle of the greatest mystical poets of the East. Of Pashtun origin, the rubab (or rabab, robab) with its unique sounds is an instrument of choice in this area to accompany Sufi poems and popular songs. It also illustrates itself in a solo repertoire from the court dance.

Its training is based on the traditional repertoire of Kabul and the basics of Hindustani music (râga, tâla, saregam), with particular attention paid to the rhythmic work of the right hand, whose technique is essential to make the "lion of instruments" sing. The transmission is oral and does not make use of scores: reading is secondary, listening fundamental.
Once a solid technical foundation has been acquired, it is possible to continue the practice by exploring the vast ocean of North Indian râga, drawing from the compositions for sarod of the gharana, tradition of Gwalior, as well as from the different Afghan styles and the various neighboring repertoires that appreciate the rubab (Baluchistan, Kashmir, Badakhshan).

"Today as every day, we are miserable. Close the way to vain thoughts, and play the rubab. As if a hundred times you had prostrated yourself, the beauty of the Beloved will be pleasing to you."

Jalaleddin Rumi Balkhi



Passionate about the traditional music of the Silk Roads, Mathieu Clavel is a disciple of the Afghan master Ustad Daud Khan Sadozai, heir of Ustad Mohammad Omar, the "Sultan of the Rubab", and of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, one of the most eminent musicians of North India today.
With the "ejaza" (permission and blessing) of his master, he began to pass on the knowledge he had received in early 2021, thus continuing the chain of tradition. At the same time, he strives to contribute to the preservation of the Afghan musical heritage.


PLACE : Ateliers d'ethnomusicologie - 10, rue Montbrillant - 1201 Genève

Les vendredis de 17h à 18h 

Individual lesson : 60.- CHF


Discover other classes