By: Samay Hamed
Translated by: Sarwar Aslamyar
March 2002, Copenhagen

Farhad is one of renowned lovers in Farsi-Dari literature. His occupation is carving stones. He gives his heart to "Shireen", and his tough love journey begins and ends with "Koh-Kani" i.e. cutting stones at mountains; a colorful ending with his blood. However in Farsi-Dari literature, Farhad is a symbol for an "unsuccessful lover", he is more an icon for intense stamina in love. Yes, a lover may fail but love forever will prosper; thus Farhad is equally a symbol of " failed lover" and "prosperous love", and what could be better than this.

Darya in Farsi-Dari language means "sea"; in Afghanistan darya is also used to refer to river. In both cases darya is a blue compilation of water, and water is a blend of voice and sincerity, message and purity.

And Farhad Darya is a Farhad of "mountains of love" as well as a darya of voice and honesty; a pleasant and novel voice that in every instant and every spot shouts the sincerity of martyred Afghan nation. Farhad Darya is a pioneer of committed and devoted music in Afghanistan; commitment to novelty of music and devotion to cause of human being. From an artistic point of view, Farhad's music is homogeneously domestic (Afghan) and global (international), a blend of endemic (native) and global tinkle.

Farhad Darya certainly is a founder of new wave of music in Afghanistan. This wave as much as it is an outcome of versatile musical creations - a mix of global, domestic, and self-specific trends - it is also a result of pledge to history and time. This commitment is not imprinted by history and time; rather these musical creations tirelessly evoke and shout history and time.

During the reign of red invaders in Afghanistan, Darya's songs became music for free souls and trill for prisoners. Freedom fighters saw the fall and stall of the communist regime, and prisoners felt rise of freedom and breakdown of chains from his songs. Because broadcasting Darya's songs, which always had to pass through a spiral corridor of censorship, implied freedom standing up and breaking the chains. People knew that Darya applies no word and tune without a message; every beat, note, and composition in his music spells and sings freedom and liberty. They knew that his love songs not only reflect his love but also they represent a "shout of time" for struggle and freedom.

Heights have fresh air
Youth has boundless pain
My heart is so much ruined by love
It has no wall and no door any more . . . (Heights)

One knew that "heights" or mountains symbolizes cradle of people resistance and struggle against red oppression; "fresh air" represents freedom, "heart" means homeland and "love" means - - -. For years Darya went through these songs with patience and pain. The puppet communist regime tried hard to make him its "loud speaker" through threat and humiliation. He not only survived all the stress such as " forced military drafts", "discharging from university", and "censorships", he also beat the drum of his aims with passion and hard efforts.

As a founder of "Afghan resistance music" inside of Afghanistan, besides his voice and songs he insisted straight or emblematically on resistance and struggled in his interviews. Through visualization on TV screen freedom revived while oppression and despot faded away under his lash. Every now and then he put rope of execution on fire and staged "theater of fighting hands" representing virtuous and victorious hands of Afghan people; or illustration of a collapsing nest within a fall season. Farhad gradually became a voice of resistance among enlightened intellectuals. In the middle of silence and political negligence he raised his voice and tried to remove the ashes of filthiness from Afghan music context. No one can deny Farhad Darya and his companion Qahar Asi's role and influence on formation of Afghan resistance music and poem. These two voices of sincerity and affection deserve real appreciation. Not even one single stanza in his songs has benefited any governments; furthermore most of his songs written and released inside Afghanistan have been opposing the communist regime. Who could write and sing such a piece at a time when "Babrak Karmal" was the head of state (1980-1986), where freedom tongues were chopped and blazes were turned to ashes under the boots of tyrants

I got glad tidings that the time of grief won't stay eternally,
       It didn't stay as it was
       and it wouldn't last long as it is . . . (The Time of Grief)

This obviously referred to "Khalqee"s and "Parchamee"s (the two communist parties in Afghanistan funded and used by USSR) ruling times as "it didn't stay" and "as it is" respectively.

Farhad Darya has been singing for his brave people, for freedom fighters that had never descended and have remained on "heights". "Mountain" awakes the "history" and presents "fresh air" from the "heights" not for the ones that descended and traded crown of pride with bowl of beggary and betrayed freedom principles. His songs have been (dedicated) for that freedom fighter that lived and died with anonymity and never betrayed freedom.

Darya's grandfather is Shir Mohammad Nashir who is recognized as "Shir Khan" and "Father of Contemporary Kunduz" in Afghanistan. He was the key figure in establishing a foundation and expanding cultural, artistic, agricultural, and industrial basis in northern Afghanistan when he was deputy governor of Qataghan (northern region of Afghanistan). Kunduz development reached to the point that the old proverb in Farsi "if you want to die go to Kunduz" was changed to "if you want to live go to Kunduz". Since Shir Khan was one of the pioneers in publishing literature and historical books in Afghanistan he got the epithet of Nashir or publisher in Farsi. He wrote books and published education books for public education system with expenses out of his own pocket. His house was a library through which Farhad Darya got acquainted with self and the world, and request and rehearsal purified his aptitude.

Nashir family has a multi-ethnic background and this blend of cultures has had a strong influence on insight and perception of life and humanitarian solidarity and harmony. Shir Khan was an advocate of multi-ethnic cohesion and camaraderie and opposed ethnic monopolies; as a result the government authorities that get their orders from "Sardar M. Hashim Khan" one of the totalitarian political figures in Afghanistan history, murder him. Shir Khan had already read his assassination news in "Aneess" publication a day before being murdered.

Darya's father was never employed with the government since he believed that at that juncture any government career was associated with public aggravation. He had noticed the big gap between people and government authorities. He stayed with public and urged his children to support and be with people until he rest at peace. It is no accident that Farhad Darya signifies a live materialization of being with people and being people, something that reaches beyond national boundaries and has portrayed Darya as an Afghan musician who represents freedom and solidarity at International level.

Music certainly was not a career in Darya's (father) family; however this noble art did exist in his house as a "silence of trill". This silence of trill was taking its outline from a "Rabab" (short-necked, plucked lute), a "Zirbaghali" (single-headed, vase-shaped drum), and a "Tanbour" (long-necked, plucked lute), which always hung from three nails on walls of his house, and called for Darya's fingers and voice. This silence of tinkle came from a German accordion "HUNOR" inside a gray box and burst into flames of passion and separation in Darya's heart. Finally this silence of trilling was Darya's father who within clouds of smoke from his cigarettes, among a heap of Farsi and Pashto books, and from souvenirs of his journeys (Eiffel Tower, New York Skyscrapers, London Bridge, Beatles LPs, Elvis's music, Frank Sinatra, - - - and more) crooned his solitude.

With the silence of trill from his father (family) and fountains of melody from his mother (family), Farhad Darya pulled off to the vocalist echelon. Darya's grandfather (from mother side) was Abdul Ghani Khan Gardezi (deputy governor of Kandahar for years) known as "Qala Beggi", whose children have been in to art and music. Darya's uncles are vocalists who make their own compositions and lyrics. One is a painting artist and the other is a graphic designer. Darya's elder brother initiates music and songs in Nashir's family; however he departs from music after he started attending Oxford University. On the other hand Farhad Darya along with his younger brother, Engineer Yama Yakmanesh, who is also a writer, starts his journey to the "seven cities of love".

Finally Darya takes the father's accordion out of the gray box to tune the words of his heart. Father catches him unexpectedly and gets irritated, however after he realizes that his son is serious he sends him to his cousin, Zarghoon Nashir, to learn basics of accordion and bongo drum. Zarghoon Nashir is a pupil of a Turkish musician, Farrokh Afandy, who was a renowned music teacher in Afghanistan. After lots of excuses and hardship, Darya finds a second hand harmonium, puts Bedel's poetry compilation on it, and start. With the first page he opens, he gets fired up and croons his first composition:

      Our heart is a swelling and a watery eye
      . . . a goblet, filled with hundred different color of wine

Before imbuing with music, Darya writes poems, which gets published in Kunduz periodicals. He concentrates so much on music so that his dad afraid of losing his honored-student son in to the gardens of music, several times takes away the harmonium from him but with mother's mediation he gets it back and his music becomes free again.

Darya and his brother, Yama initially for fun copy compositions and mimic Ustad Sarahang, Ustad Hashim, and Ustad Shaida; and record them. One summer when their uncle (their mother's brother), Shir Shah Gardezi, pays a visit to them in Kunduz (from Kabul) he gets upset once he observes what they are doing. He inquires to depart from imitation and take music serious if they are really eager to peruse this path so that they enjoy the reflection of their spirits within the music.

Darya finds new friends in "Shir Khan" High School and starts "Nayestan" (Reed-Bed), his first band of music. In this group Qadeer sings, Abdul Jaan plays Tabla, Basheer plays percussion, and Darya mixes his voice with sound of harmonium and accordion. They participate in student celebrations and national festivities; at times he writes scripts and few times plays a part in the stage shows.

He listens to Ustad Sarahang and Ustad Shaida compositions, and records Ustad Sarahang's music lessons from radio Afghanistan. He later moves from Kunduz to Kabul and spends his senior year in Habibia High School. At twelfth grade, Darya, who always has been an honor student, gets very close to be dropped. This incidence marks a beginning in his success journey towards the world of music; the genuine exam of his life.

He later wishes to become an engineer and enrolls in Kabul Polytechnic Institute. This is exactly the time when most of male members of Nashir family are listed in black book (list of individuals to be executed) of the communist regime; after they discover this fact, with the help of few friends who have connections with the government, they survive and move in to Kabul.

Kabul Polytechnic Institute, as well as it was an educational center, it was a place for threat and surveillance by the communist government. Darya gets threatened many times to join the party; even they write his name by themselves. He breaks out from the institute and transfers to Kabul University, faculty of language and literature, after he spends more than three years in Polytechnic.

In Polytechnic Darya starts his music band and becomes famous among the student bodies and educational circles. He gets introduced to the public through participation in Youth (Jawaanaan) program on Kabul TV. By singing a few Ghazals and classical songs and playing a few challenging classic pieces, he gets popular among people. Exposure to people and intimate association with public makes him to reject a scholarship outside of Afghanistan, because he wants to be with his people and sing for them.

On TV he initially starts with Classical and semi classical music, Ghazal. Then he gradually moves towards folklore. In Kabul University he gets acquainted with the aroma of "resistance poems", Qahar Asi. They become two arms to conquer and construct. Darya's music and Asi's poem combined, similar to water to wetness, creates tunes of resistance. "Baran" or Rain descends with sincerity form sky and blows life to soil and ash sprouting to flower and plant. Baran's reputation spreads beyond boundaries increasing thirsty fans of its genuine chants.

"Baran" reaches at the peak of its career at a crucial time of Afghanistan history i.e. government of communist regime. More vocalists get established through Baran and Darya's compositions exposed to public. Darya realizes that under flames of war and chamber of smoke and agony, communicating via classical music and Ghazal is not sufficient enough, while the Red Army with blood and ashes is trying to alienate and empty a nation from its cultural values. Darya moves towards folk music and creates Afghan style tunes. He brings new life and fresh look to Afghan music, which paves its way to large cities through sincere and wounded suburbs. This music is continually perceived from every window and each throat and signifies agony of Afghan nation. The ruling administration representing Red Army strangers puts pressure on this throat and tens of his songs are censored. But the more pressure they apply the more his voice gets louder and finds its way among people. As an unusual process, initially the head of TV broadcasts and programs conducts these censorships, and once his songs become popular and every letter and sound of his compositions is articulated, the minister of Radio and Television takes over the task of censorship. Farhad gets discharged from university multiple times and forced to serve military; however he remains a vocalist for his people and never endorses the regime. During these hard times Zahir Howaida or as Darya calls him " The Brave Brother of Afghan Music Society" steps up and opens the closed doors for him. As an established artist among people and via his connections within the administration, Zahir Howaida paves the way for Darya's aesthetic activities.

While attending Polytechnic Institute, Darya befriends Engineer Seddiq Qiam, a renowned music researcher, who gets him acquainted with the first pillars of music theory and Afghan-Indu classical music for years. Later he meets with a famous and creative Middle Asian composer and songwriter "Shadman Puladi Tella". Darya learns the principles of European classical music, notation, science of harmony, and theory of western music from him while he teaches Shadman Indian Classical Music.

Darya finishes the four years degree program in eight years because of pressure from communist regime. Then he starts teaching classical music in Kabul university department of aesthetic arts where he also pursues research and writing in the field of music.

After going through ups and downs of music, Darya creates his own specific style in music, and the new wave of Afghan music starts to take shape. During this period "Baran" disintegrates and he continues his work independently where he more than ever blooms intensely.

Once he goes to Czechoslovakia for medical treatment and records few songs in Radio Prague, his compositions again flourish among the Afghans in and outside of Afghanistan. Later he goes to Germany in order to record his patriotic and political songs and to get equipment for music recording studio. At this time back home the hell kites of "7th of Sour" (communist regime) are replaced with ignorance kingpins of 8th of Sour (medieval regime) and prior to artist, music takes exile from Afghanistan (1992). Darya, who did not migrate to the west even during the worst time, makes Hamburg his second home of agony and first migration place. His first concert in Hamburg considered being a new start for his music career creates waves among public. Even in the west, music is still boycotted among certain fanatic Afghans, however a "lady" and a "brother" come to Darya's assistance. The lady is Sultana Darya, a Sorbonne University graduate in Paris and now Darya's spouse and partner in life; and the brother is Engineer Yama Yamkanesh who shoulder to shoulder with Darya puts typhoons under his lashes.

In Hamburg Darya releases his "Begum Jaan" album, an outcome of collaborations in Paris and Germany. The album gets widely accepted and travels heart to heart carrying his voice to his homeland and over the world. His next album "Afghanistan" proclaims loudly the most beautiful and stunning method of national unity linking slashed hearts (by politics) with silken string of music. Songs in this album still make hearts dancing, and remind emigrants and stranded refuges about the times of being together and for each other. "Shakar" and " In Foreign Land" arrive one after the other and carry Darya's fame to every single corner of Afghan population gatherings. Darya who now along with his wife and son, Hejran, live in United States delivers concerts all over the world (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Holland, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, Canada, United States, Italy, and more) and shares Afghanistan agony with thousands of his fans.

Darya came to this world in city of Gozargah in Kabul on the first day of fall, September 22, 1962. As a musician and celebrity Darya's role and impact on Afghan music could be analyzed with following perspectives:

1. Strings of Darya's spirit know music very well. He has the wisdom of schemes of global music and ties it together with creation. He is acquainted with the roots of Afghan music rainbow from classic to folklore - particularly folklore - and has utilizes some of its secrecies for the first time. He has woven some of these secrecies with worldwide music in his specific way. With Farhad Darya rebirth renaissance of Afghan music comes to existence. Darya opens fresher, younger, wider, and more beautiful horizon for musicians and music audience. One can say that he is a beginning for a new period in Afghan music.

2. Darya is a creator, and the outcome of his creations presented to public is combinations of his voice and others. Unlike others his creations are polyphonic rather than monophonic in nature. In his creations he greatly considers mood of listener and himself, sentimental placement of tunes, and unification of lyrics and music. Darya is painful a perfectionist.

3. Among the Afghan musicians Darya's grasp on literature and origin of poem is unique. He has experienced historic sorority of poem and music, which has massive basis in our culture, better and more than his peers.

4. 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 feelings. In past he was calling on people for struggle against puppet kingpins to achieve freedom. Today with the golden string of his voice he links disintegrated hearts.

Therefore for the last two decades in Afghanistan history, Darya's music has trembled the politics. It is interesting that politics through his music has been trying to build bridges with people. The politicians knew that people believe in Darya - in his voice and his honesty- and listen to him by the ear of their hearts. During Dr. Najib's time (1986-1992) as a step towards democracy (propaganda rather than real democracy campaign) the communist government lifted the ban on Darya's previously censored songs. Compositions such as "Maulaa Ali", "Winds are Coming", " Trees of Mountain Pass ", "The Time of Grief", "My Homeland", - - - and more got broadcast from TV and Radio to show the people that there is no gap and distance between government and people anymore. After the falling of Najibulla's regime, the Mujahideen celebrate their arrival by his songs (1992-1996); when United States bombs and drops aid (including radios) to Afghans, broadcasts his songs on its radio waves (2001). And finally after the collapse of Taliban, Radio Afghanistan announces revival of freedom with Darya's song "Kabul Jaan" (Beloved Kabul) and wakes the city up (November 13, 2001). Darya catches attention of hundreds of international journalists who recognize Darya's wounded nation through his voice.

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