Award winning singer, composer and Peace & Rights Activist Farhad Darya has been the most influential musician on the Afghan Music scene since the mid 80s, and certainly is a founder of a new wave of music in Afghanistan. He is known as the most prominent voice and a revolutionary creative force behind the contemporary music of Afghanistan.
He has been an extraordinary hit-maker and best seller since the late ‘80s.
During the conflict years, Darya found his fame going beyond the boundaries of his country, reaching out as far as Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, India, and further to Germany, Denmark, Italy, Australia, Canada, the U.S., the U.K., … and gradually the world heard Darya’s music.
After the collapse of Taliban, the revival of freedom announced by Radio Afghanistan (November13, 2001) awoke the city with Darya’s song “Kabul Jaan” (beloved Kabul). He was fully introduced to the Western world after showcasing the deserved and kind face of Afghanistan to the world, to the point that Western media started calling him “The Voice of the Afghan Nation”, “Peace Ambassador”, “Music Diplomat” and “Man of the Day” (BBC Radio).
Farhad Darya has been one of the very few Afghan musicians to break from the traditional structure of composition, orchestration, and vocal characterization. He has created and sung in many genres: semi-classical, old and modern Ghazal, folklore and traditional, pop and rock; which is why his music appeals to young and old, from the ages of 2 to 92; a phenomenon unheard of in Afghanistan’s music history.
During the reign of the red invaders, Darya was recognized as the founder of Afghan resistance music inside Afghanistan. Enforced censorship of his music began in 1981.
Farhad has written and sung a remarkable array of songs in most major Afghan and regional languages and dialects such as: Farsi-Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Hazaragi, Urdu, English and others. He draws a mosaic rainbow of peace and harmony from the existing disparities for the myriad people of his native land.
He was born on the first day of the autumn in Kabul. Music certainly was not a career in Darya’s family. In 1980, Farhad made his first public appearance on the sole TV station in the country.
While studying literature at the University of Kabul, Farhad formed “Goroh-e-Baran” (“The Rain Band”) with three other university students, and rocked the routine in music and Afghan tunes (1982). By creating “Baran,” he initiated a new genre in Afghan music, known today as Folk-Pop. Baran became a household name in a short while and became the most famous Afghan band ever in Afghanistan.
He spent some time teaching classical music theory at Kabul University.
He started a symbolic mirroring of the life and situation of Afghanistan in his audiovisual works for Afghan TV. He was discharged from the university multiple times, and forced to serve in the military.
In the fall of 1990, Darya left Afghanistan for Germany and started living in exile.
Thus, after a year and a half of silence, Darya performed for the first time in Hamburg’s “Musik Halle” and left hundreds of his enthusiastic fans waiting outside the sold out doors of the hall.
Darya’s first album in exile, recorded in Paris and the little German town of “Wissen Sieg,” was titled “Begum Jaan” and released in 1992. This album introduced computer, experimental, and a suggestion of dramatic music to the Afghan music scene. This album had one big hit, “Kabul Jan,” (Beloved Kabul).
In 1995, Darya’s first hit album in exile titled “Afghanistan” was released in Hamburg and hit the worldwide Afghan music market. This album became the most public and acclaimed collection of tracks due to its multilingual and multi-dialect Afghan nature, as well as its reflection of different tribal and ethnic Afghan music. “Afghanistan” proclaimed loudly the most beautiful and stunning method of national unity linking hearts slashed (by politics) with a silken string of music. He performed to sold-out houses in Germany, The United States, Great Britain, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Italy . . . with an aim toward keeping Afghan culture, music, and the light of hope alive among the Diaspora.
In the fall of 1995, he moved to Virginia, in the U.S
After “Shakar”, “Dar Sarzameen-e-Begaana” (“In Foreign Land”) was Darya’s other major album, released in 1999 in California, U.S. One of its hit songs, “Khosham me Aayad,” (I Like…) became an unprecedented hit Afghan song in the Iranian communities in inside and outside Iran, which increased Darya’s popularity in that nation.
… And finally, Farhad Darya released “Salaam Afghanistan,” his top and most successful hit album in 2003. He returned to his motherland after thirteen years of exile, filmed the album within Afghanistan and released it worldwide in DVD format. This album is considered the most prominent work in Darya’s career and the crème de la crème of Afghan music today. “Salaam Afghanistan” not only broke the sales record for any album in the past few decades of Afghan music history, but also presented the original and kind face of Afghanistan.
Darya launched 32 albums and several singles. He has, time and again, received the title of “Best Singer of The Year”.
Darya's grasp of literature and the origins of poetry are unique. Darya's songs reflect people's agony; within this context he wants his music to be sensible, responsive, and sincerely emotional rather than fly-by-night and superficial.
Therefore in the history of Afghanistan, Darya's music has shaken politics. It is interesting that through his music, politics has been trying to build bridges with people.
Since 2001 Darya has been working for the neglected children of Afghanistan and the world, including working street children. Recently he launched a large and long term project called “Kochah” or “Street”. “Kochah”’s first TV show brought Farhad Darya the Human Rights Award. Within one of his recent projects “Street Accounts”, Farhad Darya opened 2000 bank accounts for 2000 underprivileged families in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, from 2005-2007, Darya has been actively involved in a remarkable project called “Encounters” with 13 other artists from 13 different countries. The objective of the “Encounters” project is to help the needy and working children around the world. In 2006, “Encounters” won the Best Humanitarian Award in Germany and the related music album won the Gold Award distributed by “Sony BMG”.
Farhad Darya is the first Afghan musician to have come home from the West after the current socio-political developments in Afghanistan, and he has started to motivate and inspire the era of music in Afghanistan. He gave the biggest concert in the history of Afghan music in Kabul Stadium. After the largest censorship of music in Afghan history, Darya’s return illuminated a dawn of hope and promises of return to normalcy and peace in Afghanistan. Farhad Darya has been designated as the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) National Goodwill Ambassador for Afghanistan. As one of the best role-models to the present generation of Afghans, Darya has used his music and his personality to introduce Afghanistan to the world not as a country of conflict and desperation but a country of hope and inspiration.