Tear a Root from the Earth


Music by Qais Essar and Johnny Walsh with Gramophonic
Lyrics by Johnny Walsh
Book by John Bair
Developed with and directed by Marina McClure
Design by Nic Benacerraf, Reza Behjat

Tear a Root from the Earth is a new musical that combines American and Afghan music traditions to tell the story of an Afghan family as it deals with repetitive foreign intervention, first by the Soviets in the 1980s, and then by the Americans in the 21st century. The piece is epic in scope and sound, creating an experience through which audiences can build emotional connections and develop deep understandings of the actions and motivations of the Afghan people that many know only from gory images and devastating headlines. In so doing, we encourage audiences to explore the West’s connection with Afghanistan. 

Tear a Root from the Earth is a collaboration between composers Johnny Walsh and world-renowned Afghan rabab virtuoso Qais Essar, arranged by and for celebrated Americana band Gramophonic.