Farhad Darya

A singer, composer, activist and philanthropist, Farhad Darya has been the most influential musician in Afghanistan since the mid-80s, and is a founder of a new wave of music there. Darya is known as the country’s most prominent voice and a creative revolutionary force behind contemporary music in Afghanistan. During the first ten years of his career, much of Darya’s music was censored by the communist regime. To introduce him to the non-Afghan audience, Western media calls him “Afghan Elvis” and “The Voice of the Afghan Nation.” He has released 33 albums, received many prestigious awards, and has performed all over North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

Darya’s roots are Afghan-Indian classical music. However, after a short period of singing in Raga, he came under the influence of folk followed by pop music by the early ‘80s, and introduced the folk-pop genre to the Afghan audience. Along with folk-pop, he was the first Afghan artist to write a rock song. Farhad has written and sung a remarkable array of songs in many languages and dialects including Farsi-Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Hazaragi, Urdu and English, for himself and many other Afghan artists. He is one of the very few musicians to change the balance in Afghan music and stray from the traditional structure of composition, orchestration, and vocal characterization. He formed “Goroh-e-Baran” (The Rain Band) a highly successful band with three other university students, and broke boundaries in Afghan music. Baran turned out to be the most successful Afghan bands since the ‘80s.

After he left Afghanistan in 1990, Darya released his album “Begum Jaan” in 1992. With this, he introduced computer and experimental music to the Afghan music scene. In 1995, Darya’s hit album “Afghanistan” was released and became an acclaimed collection of tracks due to its multilingual nature and representation of different tribal and ethnic Afghan music. This album showcased the possibility of promoting national unity with music.

Farhad was the first artist who returned home from the West after 2001. After the collapse of the Taliban, the restoration of freedom announced by Radio Afghanistan in November 13, 2001 awoke the city with Darya’s hit song “Kabul Jaan” (Beloved Kabul) and broke the silence of music forced by the oppressive government for five years. In 2004, he threw a historical concert at Kabul Stadium where the Taliban executed Afghan citizens. The concert was recognized as “one of the 50 greatest moments in the history of world music” by “SONGLINES” world’s leading magazine devoted to the field of world music.

Darya released “Salaam Afghanistan,” a Video Album that he filmed in Afghanistan, in 2004. Not only did it break sales records for albums in the past few decades of Afghan music, but it presented the original and kind face of Afghanistan.

Darya uses his popularity as a platform for creating awareness regarding various social issues. Since 2001, Darya has been working with neglected and homeless children of Afghanistan and the world. He formed “Kochah,” a nonprofit organization, to support street children. Kochah’s first aired episode brought Farhad Darya the Human Rights Award.

Darya has been designated as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Afghanistan twice: initially as the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and recently as the UNODC (United Nations Office for Drug and Crime).

During his project “Life is Beautiful,” Farhad Darya performed for hundreds of thousands of his fans across Afghanistan, including Helmand, the most turbulent region and the Taliban’s stronghold in the country. He encouraged millions of people around the world with the words ‘War & Violence are not the only alternative for Afghans!

He recently launched a National Blood Drive against extremism and donated blood to the Afghan troops. He challenged the President and six other high-ranked authorities to donate blood for Afghan forces, and President Ghani accepted his challenge.

He recently received the “Peace Hero” title from “Peace Museum” Austria, and “Peace Ambassador” Award from “Universal Peace Federation.”


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