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  • Recording for In the Footsteps of Babur.
    Jay Blakesberg / Retna LTD
Music Initiative at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

“In the Footsteps of Babur: Musical Encounters from the Lands of the Mughals”

Geneva, Switzerland, 18 November 2011 – As part of the opening of New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum will co-present a concert of new music featuring music commissioned by the Aga Khan Music Initiative on 9 December 2011.

The concert, entitled “In the Footsteps of Babur: Musical Encounters from the Lands of the Mughals”, features musicians from the Music Initiative’s roster:

  • Homayoun Sakhi, Afghan rubab;
  • Rahul Sharma, santur;
  • Salar Nader, tabla and zerbaghali;
  • Sirojiddin Juraev, dutar and tanbur; and
  • Mukhtor Muborakqadomov, Badakhshani setar.

Homayoun Sakhi, who leads the ensemble, is the most renowned virtuoso of the Afghan rubab (short-necked, double-chambered lute) of his generation. For more information about Homayoun Sakhi, please see the Music Initiative website.  For information about ordering the CD/DVD of the ensemble's music, please see Smithsonian Folkways.

Much as the Mughal Empire created a synthesis of music from various lands, the concert brings together five cosmopolitan-minded musicians from Central Asia, Afghanistan and Northern India with the aim of merging their musical instruments and traditions to create new sounds. The Music Initiative supports such efforts in a variety of contexts.

“In the Footsteps of Babur” refers to the first Mughal emperor Babur, who began a journey of conquest in Afghanistan and Hindustan in the year 899 (June 1494) and eventually laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in what is now northern India. The artistic legacy of the Mughals today range from music to painting to some of the most revered monuments in the world, including the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb.

A CD/DVD collection entitled “Music of Central Asia Vol. 9: In the Footsteps of Babur: Musical Encounters from the Lands of the Mughals” is available from Smithsonian Folkways. It contains 63 minutes in nine music tracks, a 44-page Booklet and a DVD containing a 22-minute film on the musicians and a film introducing the series, as well as an interactive glossary and map.

Tickets are US$35. Please see the flyer above for more information about the concert.

To view a podcast or video, please see: Video section

For press enquiries, please contact:
Sam Pickens
Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Tel. +41 22 909 7200
Communications Department
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10028-0198
Tel. 212-570-3951
Fax 212-472-2764


Jennifer Wada Communications Co.
114 Clinton St.
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Fax: 718-855-7101


The Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, is an interregional music and arts education programme with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities.

Launched in 2000 by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators who are striving to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms, the Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, and later expanded to include musicians and artistic communities from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Its programmes support development of innovative approaches to traditional “master-apprentice” music training; performances and artistic collaborations among musicians in the Music Initiative’s regions of activity and other parts of the world, and production of the 10-volume CD-DVD anthology Music of Central Asia, co-produced with the Smithsonian Institution.

The Initiative promotes the revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.