2:56 PM PDT, September 1, 2021
Musician Lanny Cordola and others, including Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, have issued desperate pleas for help in evacuating an endangered group of young female musicians in Afghanistan.
“Girl With a Guitar,” a music school founded by Cordola, had been teaching impoverished girls and young women how to give voice to independence by playing and singing. But since the Taliban devoured the country after the withdrawal of U.S. and Western troops, the musicians have been in hiding.
“They’re scared, they’re confused, they’re brave, they’re doing their best to weather through an unprecedented, horrific situation,” Cordola said.
The students range in age from 4 to 19, and Cordola, who’s played for bands including Giuffria and House of Lords, calls them his “babies.”
“We always talk about staying calm, but inside, I’m freaking out,” Cordola said Tuesday. “I kind of vacillate between sadness and outrage and shock. I’m concerned that these beasts will get their hands on them.”
Morello, in an open letter to the music community, said, “I’m writing on behalf of some very special girls in Afghanistan who are in grave danger. (Girl With a Guitar) takes in street orphans and other girls that have endured significant trauma and use music as a rehabilitation tool and means of working through their problems, their histories, and their hopes,” he wrote.
Cordola is currently in Pakistan, trying to find some way to get the girls out of Afghanistan.
Several well-known musicians have worked, performed and recorded music with the students, including Morello, Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s, the Bangles’ Vicki Peterson, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Sammy Hagar and Rami Jaffee of the Foo Fighters.