Christchurch woman's song makes waves in Afghanistan video

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Christchurch musician and Mum Kerry Coulshed wrote a song inspired by the true story of Kamila Sidiqi, living in Kabul under the Taliban regime.

A Christchurch musician is helping to empower women in Afghanistan through a joint global project.

When musician Kerry Coulshed read The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, which tells the true story of Kamila Sidiqi living in Kabul under the Taliban regime, she was inspired to create a song.

On August 22, the music video for Beautiful Beast will be released after a more than two-year collaborative music and film-making process between New Zealand and Afghanistan. 

Musician and mum Kerry Coulshed launches her new song in Christchurch on August 22.
Iain McGregor

Musician and mum Kerry Coulshed launches her new song in Christchurch on August 22.

"There were lots of times we thought this may never happen," Coulshed said.

She had initially written the song in response to the earthquake and the "amazing things" that were emerging in the face of adversity.

"In every community in the world there are things that we need to be fighting for with these themes in mind. It's different but there is something we can connect to on some level."

The mother-of-two completed her song with the help of musician Billy Mills

It was a "pleasant surprise" when Sidiqi acknowledged the power of her work, after they connected online.

"It suggested that there was something that was transcending culture. What emerged from that was incredible."

Through their shared determination to help spread the message further, the music video was born.

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"The more you oppress women the irony of that is more potent heroines can emerge from that and the more beastly the environment, whether it's cultural or natural, amazing people rise from it," Coulshed said.

Film-maker Roya Sadat – who fights for the rights of women and children in Afghanistan – offered her services for free as director and script writer for the music video.

"Roya has tapped into something more than just our stereotypical images that we might think of when we think about the Taliban and Isis (Islamic State). This is actually about other obstacles that get in women's way to achieve like men do."

The women Skyped regularly and found they had much in common. They were both mums and juggling "lots of things", including their passions and jobs.

"I guess I had those same images that we all see – images of Afghanistan during war, we see deserts, we see soldiers and women in burqa. They were completely different to that," Coulshed said.

Sadat was given complete creative freedom of the images and Coulshed raised funds for the project from this end.

Filming in Kabul proved challenging for the film crew, who were forced to stop production during the presidential election in 2014.

The importance of their work was reinforced in March, when a 28-year-old woman called Farkhunda was beaten to death by a crowd after she was wrongly accused of burning the Koran. 

The music project will be dedicated to Farkhunda.

Beautiful Beast will be launched in Afghanistan on commercial television station Tolo TV, where a "strong response" was expected, and in the United States.

* Beautiful Beast launches on August 22 at The Darkroom, St Asaph St, 7pm.

 - Stuff

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