Nasher, Farhad (1962–)

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Nasher, Farhad

Farhad Nasher, or Farhad "Darya" Nasher, is a singer and composer from Afghanistan. Nasher has earned wide popularity for his songs and patriotism in Afghanistan and beyond. He sings his songs in various languages, including Persian, Pashtun, Tajik, and Uzbek. His songs about war-torn Afghanistan emphasize the importance of national unity, and his patriotic themes made him a popular singer in Afghanistan and beyond. He won the awards of the Best Singer of the Year in Afghanistan (2003) and Denmark (2005).


Nasher was born on 22 September 1962 in a Kunduz, Gozargah, Kabul province of Afghanistan. His father was an ethnic Pashtun and his mother was a Tajik. His uncle Gholam Servar Nasher was a wealthy businessman and a well-known philanthropist, founder of the Nasher Gallery and Nasher Library. His grandfather Sher Khan and his great uncle Gholam Nabi Nasher were well-known statesmen until the overthrow of King Zahir Shah.

Nasher spent his childhood in a town called Kunduz, where he lived until the age of seventeen. There he attended the high school named after Sher Khan (Nasher's grandfather). While studying at high school, Farhad Nasher established his first band, which was called Nayestan (Red-bed).

Upon finishing high school in Habibiyya (Kabul), Nasher entered the Polytechnic Institute, later switching to the University of Kabul. During his years in the University of Kabul, Nasher established his first professional band, which was initially called Halgahay Tilayee (Golden Ring), and was later renamed Goroh-e-Baran (Rain Band), a name that was further shortened to just Baran (Rain). Although this band did not make him and his group famous, it played a certain positive role in introducing Nasher to the career of a professional singer. Baran gained a certain popularity among the Afghani people, but due its new genre (folk-pop), the songs of this group could not attract as much of an audience as the traditional music would do in the country. During these years Nasher also wrote songs for other singers under the pseudonym Abr (Cloud).


Name: Farhad "Darya" Nasher

Birth: 1962, Kunduz, Gozargah, Kabul province, Afghanistan

Family: Wife, Sultana Emam; one son, Hejran Derya

Nationality: Afghan

Education: Polytechnic Institute of Kabul, University of Kabul


  • Late 1970s: Establishes his first band, called Nayestan, while in high school.
  • Early 1980s: Establishes his first professional band, called Halgahay Tilayee, later renamed Goroh-e-Baran. Composes songs under the pseudonym Abr (Cloud)
  • 1981: The Afghan National Radio and TV plays his song "Raseed Mojdah" ("The Time of Grief"), resulting in the introduction of an official censorship on the songs of Baran
  • 1985: Baran splits up
  • 1988: Becomes professor of the University of Kabul, teaching western classical music
  • 1989: Emigrates to Europe, later settling down in Virginia, United States
  • 1998: Composes and sings songs for the American-made Afghan movie In Foreign Land
  • 2001: Afghanistan Radio broadcasts Farhad Darya's song, "Kabul Jaan," symbolizing the beginning of the post-Taliban era in the country
  • 2003: Wins Best Song of the Year award in Afghanistan for "Salam Afghanistan"
  • 2005: Wins the Best Song of the Year award in Denmark for "Salam Afghanistan"
  • 2006: Composes songs for the Afghan-made film Through Her Eyes


During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan that began in December 1979, Nasher became popular as a founder of the Afghan resistance music. In 1981, after the Afghan National Radio and TV played his song "Raseed Mojdah" ("The Time of Grief"), an official censorship was enforced on his songs. In 1985, at the peak of its popularity, Baran split up after its concert in Mezar-e-Sharif. In 1988 Nasher became a professor at the University of Kabul where he started teaching western classical music. In 1989 he immigrated to Europe, later settling down in Virginia in the United States.

It was as an émigré that Farhad Darya Nasher won popularity through a number of his songs and albums that were aimed at describing the fate of his war-torn motherland after the invasion of the Soviets and the nostalgic feelings of love for Afghanistan. In 1998 Nasher composed and sang songs for the American-made Afghan movie In Foreign Land, directed by first-time film director Farhad Asefi. In 2006 Nasher composed songs for another film, made in Afghanistan, called Through Her Eyes. This film was directed by Mithag Kazimi.

During the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan, music was restricted as a potential antireligious activity. Nasher's songs started reaching Afghanistan with the fall of this regime. On 13 November 2001 the city of Kabul was awakened with Nasher's song "Kabul Jaan" ("Beloved Kabul"), broadcast by the Radio Afghanistan. This broadcast symbolized the beginning of a new era in Afghanistan and the revival of the music culture in the country, which had a long history before the Taliban's restrictions. In 2003 Nasher's album Salam Afghanistan, which emphasized the importance of national unity, became a hit in his home country and earned him the awards Best Singer of the Year in Afghanistan (2003) and in Denmark (2005).


Nasher was strongly influenced by the political cataclysms that took over Afghanistan in 1980s and, at a later period, by his emigrant life. In early 1980s, when Afghanistan was governed by communist rule and occupied by Soviet troops, Nasher's band Baran stood out for its political resistance songs. Despite the official censorship on the songs of this band, Baran successfully performed until 1985 when the group split up. Nasher's "Salam Afghanistan," and other songs with patriotic themes, earned him a wide range of respect and popularity in Afghanistan. Nasher's philanthropy, especially with respect to the disadvantaged people of the Afghan civil war, added to his popularity in the country.


Nasher's style of singing founded a new genre in Afghan music. This genre is currently called folk-pop and consists of adding pop features to the traditional music of Afghanistan. Bringing political and societal motives to songs is yet another novelty introduced by Nasher to modern Afghan music.


Lamb, Christina. The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage through Afghanistan. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

"Lyrics—Farhad Darya." Available from

Farhad Darya's official Web site. Available from

Pazira, Nelofer. A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan. New York: Free Press, 2005.

                                                  Adil M. Asgarov


Asad Badie (1962–) a popular Afghani singer, started his career together with Nasher Darya in the band Baran. After the split of the band in 1985 Asad Badie continued his career as a singer and produced several music albums. Asad Badie immigrated to Europe. Upon receiving his M.D. in Switzerland, he started working as a practicing physician. He continues giving concerts in various cities of Europe and producing music CDs that are popular among the fans of Afghan pop music.