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Forging musical bonds between the old and the new

05 Oct 2014

Taqi Khan is a softly spoken man with a familiar story.  As a Hazara man, he knows first-hand the terrible decisions that asylum seekers have to make, escaping persecution but also fleeing his native Afghanistan and leaving behind family members to find a better life.

Taqi now lives in Melbourne, but is intimately aware of the challenges facing asylum seekers after travelling to Australia via Singapore and Malaysia, risking the dangerous boat trip to Australia and spending three months in detention on Christmas Island.

However, as a popular musician in his home country, his focus now is on helping preserve and celebrate the Hazara culture via their traditional music, which was suppressed in Afghanistan.

“Hazara refugees live all over the world, and are listening to other types of music – different rhythms, modern styles, professionally produced.  My aim is to combine traditional songs with contemporary Western styles and create popular Hazara music,” said Taqi, who enjoys diverse Western styles like blues and hip-hop.

Taqi already has a strong following among the Hazara community around the world, who wait impatiently for his new releases.

He recently completed the Certificate III in Music at Melbourne Polytechnic, which equipped him to take on the fusion of styles he is interested in.

Melbourne Polytechnic’s Certificate III in Music is a nationally accredited, full-time course focusing on music theory, vocal/aural training, performance, instrumental skills, percussion and vocal ensemble work.

“The Melbourne Polytechnic course helped a lot; I can now read, write and sing Western style notes and music, and I know Western rhythm, scales and tones,” he said. “I also got great experience performing with other students.”

Taqi is currently working on new songs for a CD due to be released around October this year. He has a home studio where he produces the songs, using software he learned how to use during his course.  “My teachers taught me so many things. I also learned new instruments, like the keyboard and African style drumming.”

He will continue to hone his skills by embarking upon the Melbourne Polytechnic Certificate IV in Music, and is receiving community support to cover the cost of his fees.

Fiona Blair, Music Performance Teacher at NMIT, said “Taqi is a fine musician and performer who has been able to expand his musical horizons by studying at Melbourne Polytechnic. Our personalised training really suited him; we get to know our students individually, and can then customise their learning to help them succeed.”

Ms Blair felt the combination of Melbourne Polytechnic’s training approach and the input of the institute’s literacy support team was a very effective combination.

“I found sitting down with Taqi and explaining things one-to-one was an effective strategy, alongside being able to refer him to our literacy support team, which he also found quite helpful.”

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to: James Gardener, Melbourne Polytechnic Communications Coordinator 03 9269 1579 or 0413 483 182 ua.ud1561455193e.tim1561455193n@ren1561455193edrag1561455193semaj1561455193 .

Melbourne Polytechnic is an exciting new educational provider operated by parent Institute, Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. Melbourne Polytechnic delivers certificate, diploma and degree programs across a wide range of creative, commercial and service industries. In addition, Melbourne Polytechnic delivers selected higher education programs in conjunction with La Trobe University.

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