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Ahmad Zahir’s death anniversary observed in Kabul


KABUL: The death anniversary of the legendary Afghan singer Ahmad Zahir was observed in Kabul today by a number of the Afghan artists, including singers and media supporters.

The participants who paid tribute to the legendary singer said Ahmad Zahir will remain unique and will not be replaced by any other singer in the history of the Afghan music.

Ahmad Zahir died on 1st June 1979 in an incident but there are many mixed views from critics for why he was killed, but according to his son Rishad Zahir, Zahir “was assassinated by the order of a communist general named Daud Taroon, who used one of Zahir’s best friends as an accomplice to carry out his orders”.

Ahmad Zahir left behind two children, Ahmad Rishad and Shabnam whom currently live in United States along with Ahmad Zahir’s sister, Zahira who is the personal hair stylist of Presidents Bush, Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other dignitaries.

His songs are mostly in Persian and based on well-recognized Persian poems, although a few are in Pashto and English. Zahir composed and performed rock and pop music, in a similar style to Elvis Presley.

His debut song “Ay Bulbuli Shorida” was performed at Hibibia High School and his schoolmates awarded him title of “Bulbul-e-Habibia” (Nightingale of Habibia). While in high school, Ahmad Zahir, Omar Sultan, Nabil Meskinyar, Farid Zaland and Akbar Nayab formed a band called “Amateurs of Habibia”

By the late 1960s, Ahmad Zahir began to fully contribute to this new musical movement. Blessed with an extraordinary voice and acute musical instincts, Ahmad Zahir directed Afghan music to new depths.

He also had the opportunity to work with the best individuals in the Kabul music scene such as the late saxophonist Ustad Ismail Azimi, trumpeter Ustad Nangalai and composers Naynawaz, Taranasaz, Mas’our Jamal, along with others.

Zahir became a star in the years just before Afghanistan descended into more than 30 years of war. It was a happier time, though the government was rapidly becoming unstable. As the son of a former prime minister, he moved easily among Kabul’s cultural elite. -KP


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