Ahmad Zahir (1946 – 1979), was an Afghan singer, songwriter and composer. A celebrity of enduring popularity more than a quarter century after his controversial death, he is considered an icon of Afghan culture.
Ahmad Zahir’s fame has surpassed any previous singer in Afghanistan’s history, earning him the title of Afghanistan’s Nightingale. His status, as a pop singer, has been unrivaled even 27 years after his death (as of 2006). Posthumously granted the status of a luminary, his songs serve to this day as voice and music training lessons for aspiring singers. As a matter of fact, in performances of other popular Afghan singers, there is always a request for an Ahmad Zahir song. Often others’ voice command is evaluated based on Ahmad Zahir’s standards, a reference point to whom new singers are measured. He is still celebrated as the most popular Afghan music phenomenon and, for many, the purest embodiment of modern Afghan music.
With over 22 albums (not including improvised recordings) in less than 15 years, he has more songs to his credit than any other Afghan singer. His albums are still outselling all other Afghan singers both inside and outside Afghanistan. He is widely popular in Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikestan, Uzbekistan and Turkey.