Nasrat Parsa

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Afghan pop singer Nasrat Parsa was born in Kabul on February 22, 1969. First exposed to music via his older brother, he made his public debut at age six, performing two songs composed by Afghan icon Ahmad…
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Afghan pop singer Nasrat Parsa was born in Kabul on February 22, 1969. First exposed to music via his older brother, he made his public debut at age six, performing two songs composed by Afghan icon Ahmad Zahir during a new year's celebration broadcast over Radio Kabul. Zahir heard the performance and invited Parsa to his home, with Zahir remaining the boy's mentor for years to follow; after several years studying classical music under Ostaad Mohammed Houssein Sarahang, at age 12 Parsa and his family fled the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and relocated to Pakistan, later settling in Delhi, India, where he studied under Pandate Daish Pandi and Ostood Monawar Ali Khan.

Upon landing in Frankfurt, Germany, Parsa recorded his 1989 debut LP, Laanai-e-Eshq, followed three years later by Darga. With 1996's Gohar, he earned his first taste of international fame, and went on to sell over a million records in the decade to follow, his success buoyed largely by a relentless tour schedule. Parsa always dreamt of performing in Afghanistan despite the Taliban's decision to outlaw music across the nation, and his repertoire contained as many traditional Afghan songs as it did original dance-pop hits. While on tour in support of his tenth album, 2004's Dil, during his stop in Vancouver on May 8, 2005, Parsa upset many fans by performing a full set of classical Afghan music -- several concertgoers followed the singer back to his hotel, and the resulting confrontation erupted into violence that left the singer dead. He was just 36.