Afghanfun.com > Music > Naim Popal
Naim Popal’s Albums
Naim Popal (born 18 June 1954) is an Afghan singer, songwriter, and composer.
He is considered to be an influential artists in Afghanistan’s musical history with a career that spans over four decades. In 2006, Popal returned to perform for a Persian New Year concert in Afghanistan after 30 years in exile.
Naim Popal was born Pashtun family, in the Dehmazang district in Kabul, Afghanistan on June 18, 1954. His father, Sayed Ahmad, worked at the Ministry of Energy while his mother, Rabia, took care of home duties. He is the middle child amongst five brothers and four sisters. His passion for music began at the age of nine, where he began singing and playing harmonium for his friends and classmates. He attended the high schools of Habibia and Shahe-Du-Shamshera. At Shahe-Du-Shamshera, he started a band called “Lalaha” (The Tulips). The name originated from a 1963 French film starring Alain Delon, whom Naim had greatly admired in his youth.
The band consisted of Same Khaleqi on drums, Nazer Baluch on bass guitar, Waqil Rawoufi on lead guitar, while Naim served as the vocalist and keyboardist. The band gained fame among the youth in Kabul and held many concerts in Kabul, Mazari Sharif, and Jalal-Abad. Eventually, Naim wanted to embark as a solo artist and approached Radio Kabul for a potential career.At the age of 18, Naim arrived to Radio Kabul for auditions. The studio executives were impressed with his marketable good looks and his soft, mesmerizing vocal range. They immediately asked him to bring in musicians and record a few singles. During the summer of 1972, Naim released his first single, “Laila Nowroz Ast”. The song became an instant classic and launched the young Naim into a household name. At the same time, he worked as a sound technician at Afghan Film alongside Ahmad Zahir, who was also a talented singer and would have a major influence on Naim’s artistic spirit. Naim also worked at Radio Kabul as a producer for one of their popular game shows, Musabeqaye Zehni. While recording at Radio Kabul, Naim released many singles that were featured on compilations released by the Ariana Music and Afghan Music record labels. Memorable songs from this time period are “Marday Tanha” and “Simin Bari Gul” which highlight Naim’s singing abilities. As his music career was thriving, Naim began headlining various festivals and performing at concerts throughout Afghanistan.By 1975, Naim had reached superstardom in his native country and strove to expand his career to the next level. He consequently decided to leave Kabul for the thriving Iranian music scene. When Naim arrived in Tehran, he met up with fellow close friend and musician, Khalil Ragheb. Together, they began playing music at small concerts and festivals in Tehran and Mashad. Naim became a superstar in Iran and was cherished alongside the many elite singers of that time such as Googoosh, Dariush, Ebi and many more. He recorded two tapes during this era with Khalil Ragheb, they took turns singing & composing tracks on both tapes. The duo also filmed several videos for Rangarang Television which was the mainstream Iranian music program.When the Iranian Revolution occurred, Naim moved to the US where he continued his career in the city of Los Angeles. During that time, he began working with composers/arrangers such as Hassan Shamaizadeh, Ustad Shawali Taranasaz, Manouchehr Cheshmazar, Andranik and Naweed Nahwi. The result of these collaborations you can hear on the tape, “Aashenha”, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest Afghan/Persian albums of all time. The lush arrangements and superb vocals showcased an artist that would melt the heart of millions. After the Aashenha tape was released, Naim travelled all across the US, singing for thousands of Afghan and Persian families who had migrated to the US due to political turmoil in their home countries. He was the only Afghan singer who was entertaining families during the 80’s, the vast majority of other singers were still in Afghanistan, singing under the Communist Regime.Today, he continues his career from Southern California where he is considered a legend in the Persian and Afghan communities. He will forever be respected for his work ethic, his charming personality and his devotion to the people of Afghanistan and Iran.