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Metallica, Afghanistan National Institute of Music Named 2018 Polar Music Prize Laureates

The seminal metal band Metallica and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and its founder/director Dr. Ahmad Sarmast have been named the Laureates for the 2018 Polar Music Prize, to be presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on June 14. The announcement was made Wednesday (Feb. 14) morning at Stockholm City Hall by Alfons Karabuda, chairman of the Polar Music Prize award committee.

Metallica, one of the Big Four of Thrash along with Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, has gone platinum 52 times according to the RIAA. All six of their studio albums released between 1991 and 2016 have reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200.

Dr. Sarmast founded ANIM in Kabul in 2010 in response to that country’s civil war destruction of centuries of rich musical tradition. In the 1980s the pop music and film industries were thriving in Afghanistan, with hundreds of ensembles and a national radio orchestra playing Western and Afghan musical instruments. Between 1996 and 2001, music was completely banned. Over the last eight years, ANIM has been providing a challenging and safe learning environment for all students regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious sect or socio-economic status. The institute has a special focus on the most disadvantaged children in Afghanistan, including orphans, street vendors and girls.

All four members of Metallica expressed their gratitude for being named one of this year’s Laureates. “Receiving the Polar Music Prize is an incredible thing,” said drummer and co-founder Lars Ulrich. “It puts us in very distinguished company. It’s a great validation of everything Metallica has done over the last 35 years. At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us.”

Co-founder, vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield added, “I feel very honored to be in such great company with the others

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