Afghan Female Singers and Musicians

In recent months we have seen a sudden rise in the number of Afghan female singers hitting the Afghan musical airwaves. To many younger Afghans it appears as though this is a sign and form of Afghan liberation. But it must be pointed out that Afghanistan had female artists and musicians  dating back to early 1940' and 1950's. Although there were innumerable folklore Afghan singers prior to 1940's , the rise and prominence of many Afghan female singers started with the establishment of Kabul Radio. Parwin was the first Afghan female singer to sing on the Radio and this was followed by Ustaad Mahwash. Ustaad Mahwash - aka Faridah Mahwash was married to Taxi driver and she lived in Sharinow district of Kabul. Although she loved singing she never had any professional training. Her husband decided to help Mahwash get musical training. Daily he would drive her to music schools of Kabul  and while he toiled the day to earn a living, Mahwash would work on her music under the tutelage of Afghan grandmaster's of classical music. Within a very short span of time, Mahwash left everyone startled with her genetically gifted musical talents.  Faridah Mahwash soon metamorphosed into Ustaad Mahwash. Kabul radio listeners would request the stations to play more of Ustaad Mahwash and once Kabul TV stations were built, most of her previously made songs were turned into music videos. The rise and popularity of Mahwash remained and remains unparallel.

To listen to Ustaad Mahwash music please visit our music section

Next on our list is Mermun Rokhsana who was born in Shebergan Afghanistan and rose to popularity after she performed the music video for the movie 'QataParcha'. Watch the classic video of Mermun Rokhsana here:
Following the leads of Mahwash and Rokhsana, came along Hangama and Salma. Hangama and Salma both had a rich musical training and performed with various Afghan artists, popular during 1970's. Hangama and Salma both left Afghanistan in early 1980's following the soviet occupation of Afghanistan. While living in Exile in Europe and USA, their musical careers were cut short, but their musical albums that were left behind in Afghanistan and were listened by the Afghan music lovers. Although Salma did continue to make rare appearances in various concerts alongside her brother Haider Saleem, she did not make any other albums. While in exile, Hangama got divorced from Ahmad Wali, yet another famouse Afghan singer.
In recent years, Hangama has once again started singing. The butterfly that had once cocooned has once again emerged bold and strong. Her recent musical performances have been loudly applauded.

To listen to Hangama - Visit's Afghan music pages
To listen to Salma - Visit our extensive afghan music collection

Parasto is married to Rahim Mehryar and their musical popularity reached its peak during the 1980's when the soviets were in Afghanistan. Although many other artists fled Afghanistan, Parasto and Rahim Mehryar stayed in their mother land and only after the fall of Afghanistan to warlords and ganglords during the Islamic Revolution, Parasto left Afghanistan for Geermany.
Parasto was famous for her unique style of wearing lots of make up, fancy head gears and feathers which were interestingly received pleasantly by Afghan masses.

To listen to Parastoo, please visit our afghan music section:

Around the same time that Parasto was popular another Afghan female singer who was a member of "Gorohe GuliSorkh" - aka "Red Rose Ensemble" was non other than Wajiha. Wajiha was as well married to Farid Rastagar - yet another popular Afghan artist. Wajiha was (and still is) bold, energetic, charismatic and stunningly beautiful. From her early days in Kabul to escaping to Russia and then Germany following Afghan wars, she has never stopped singing. Year after year, her pleasant face, her beautiful smile adorns Afghan TV sets and she singers one musical hit after other. She has performed in live concerts all around the world.

To listen to Wajiha and Farid Rastagar, please visit our well maintained Afghan music section

To Watch videos of Wajiha and Farid Rastagar, please visit our afghan music video section
Whilst Wajiha and Parasto and many other female vocalists were native farsi speakers, there was a void for an Afghan female singer who would sing in Pashto - that void was filled by Naghma and Mangal. Naghma is an afghan singer who hails from the pashto speaking parts of Afghanistan and descends from a pashtoon ancestry. Naghma's stunning looks made her the subject of gossip in Afghanistan. It is often claimed that various ministers and even prime ministers in Afghanistan have showered Naghma with expensive and wild gifts in the hopes of fulfilling their wild desires. The desires that were torched by Naghma's essence and looks. To this date, many Afghan women are still jealous of Naghma, as their husbands watch her videos with a thirst for the unfulfilled tryst. After the fall of Russian regime in Afghanistan, Naghma and Mangal fled to Peshawar Pakistan. While in Pakistan, they continued to sing. Infact many of the pakistani populace living in Peshawar started their own following of Naghma engima. Later in 2000's, Naghma and Mangal moved to California, USA. While in US, Naghma filed for divorce from her husband. Following the divorce Naghma is believed to be dating another man, and Mangal seems to be lost in a torrent of darkness and sadness that has engulfed his life - as is eminent from his recent musical performances and compositions.

Following is a wikipedia entry on Naghma:

Naghma was born as Shaperai (Fairy) on January 1, 1964 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She belongs to the Pashtun ethnic group. As a young girl, she developed an interest in music. Her early songs were based on Kandahari songs, most of which were folkloric in nature but were essential in training the novice. After moving to Kabul, Naghma held various jobs, all the while pursuing her passion. Coming from a traditional family, she met with much resistance from relatives who saw singing as a demeaning career for an Afghan woman. However, Naghma was not discouraged by this. Naghma became a student of a musician-turned-singer.

Naghma married Mangal, a very well known singer from Laghman. The couple became one of the most popular music icons throughout Afghanistan. They have sung songs in Pashto and Dari and are equally popular among other ethnic groups.

The pivotal point of their career came with the hit single ‘Malek Janah.’ The song was immensely popular and, to this day, remains the couple’s most memorable. Soon after this song came ‘Mazdigar di ka na dai,’ another popular song that enlivened the radio stations of not only Afghanistan but Pakistan and some African countries as well. A number of moderately successful albums followed, after which they performed in a series of well-received concerts. Shaperia Naghma has around 5000 songs on her credit. In addition, she has performed in dozens of concerts around the globe.

With impending civil war, the couple left Afghanistan for Pakistan in 1992. There, they became very successful with an enthusiastic crowd of Afghan exiles who were nostalgic for their native music. Their financial situation by this time had improved significantly. In the late 90’s, they left Pakistan to immigrate to the United States.
After establishing contact with the Afghan community of northern California, the duo held a series of performances. However, Naghma and Mangal have since divorced, citing Mangal’s alleged continual alcohol abuse , and the couple has been sensitive about elaborating further on the issue. Their divorce has also cast a doubt as to whether this former pair can reconcile at least on the professional level. While Mangal performs solo in private events and television programs, Naghma is continuing her career as a professional artist.

In 2006, Naghma’s new single ‘Mohabbat’ was released. This was the first time she had sang a pop song. It is a favorite club remix and the accompanying video is also Kabul TV station’s and AfghanMTV’s most requested video. The song is one of the highest ranking Afghan songs in the world. Also in that year, Naghma returned to Afghanistan to give a round of concerts in various cities with Naim Popal, another popular Afghan singer. During her concert held in Kabul, the crowd showered the singer with rose petals.

To listen to Naghma and Mangal, please visit our afghan music section which is the most extensive afghan music collection. .

To watch videos of Naghma, please visit our afghan music video section.

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