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The members of Red Planet met at a university and bonded over their love of Western heavy-metal bands such as Linkin Park. Although the Western influences in the Tajik rock scene are strong, the local style has an Eastern slant all of its own.

“Sure, we’re influenced by Western hard rock, punk, hard-core and even pop, but our roots are from the East,” Mr. Rock said. “We have songs with specific beats with Oriental melodies.”

With official figures putting unemployment at 20 percent and the economy heavily dependent on money sent home by Tajiks working abroad, these musicians have little hope of making a living from their art. But far from dreaming of wealth and stardom, they say they are happy to make sacrifices just to be able to play.

“We all work several jobs,” Mr. Rock said. “To save money, we often skip meals and walk to and from rehearsals.”