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Pashto: نغمه ښاپېرۍ
Naghma singing during the 2010 Nowruz celebration at Fairplex in Pomona, California
Naghma singing during the 2010 Nowruz celebration at Fairplex in Pomona, California
Background information
Birth nameShaperei (Fairy)
Born (1958-01-01) January 1, 1958 (age 63)
Andar District, Ghazni Province, Kingdom of Afghanistan
GenresFolklore, Pop
Years active1980–present
LabelsAfghan Vision Records
Ariana Records
AwardsPride of Performance[1]

Naghma Shaperai (Pashto: نغمه ښاپېرۍ, born 1 January 1959 in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan) is an Afghan singer who started her career in the early 1980s. She sung along her ex-husband, Mangal, during the 1980s and early 1990s. Naghma sings mostly in Pashto, but has also recorded in the Dari Persian language. She is considered to be folklore female artist in Afghanistan and continues to be the voice and face of Pashtun traditional music.[1]

Early years[edit]

Naghma was born as Shaperai (Pashto: ښاپېرۍ meaning Head Fairy) on 1 January 1964 in Afghanistan. The city of her birth cannot be verified. She was the eldest daughter in a family of five boys and three girls. Her father's name was Syed Suleiman Shah and her mother is Bibi Mashala. Her father died when Naghma was five years old. As a young girl, she developed an interest in music. At sixteen she moved to Kabul with her paternal uncle. She continued her secondary education at Rabia Balkhi Lece where she was performing in the girl's band as a vocalist. A year before finishing her high school she married Mangal, an already popular Pashto singer from Laghman Province, and consequently left school to advance her musical career. They were instant celebrities, recording hits that are famous to this day.

Her early songs were based on southern Afghan music, most of which were folkloric in nature. Coming from a traditional family, she met with much resistance from relatives who saw singing as taboo for Afghan woman. Naghma has often stated in interviews that till today her mother is still not happy with her career choice. However, Naghma was not discouraged by this. In Mangal she found a supporting husband and as duo the pressure from society was much more bearable as opposed to being solo.

Eventually they settled in Islamabad, Pakistan. There, they became very successful with an enthusiastic crowd of Afghan exiles who were nostalgic for their native music. Their financial situation by this time had improved significantly. In 2000, they left Pakistan and immigrated to the United States.

Personal life[edit]

After establishing contact with the Afghan community of Northern California, the duo held a series of performances. In 2006, after years of ups and downs in their marriage, the couple divorced. Though no specific reasons have been shared by the couple, some believe Mangal's alleged alcohol abuse was the reason for why the marriage dissolved. The couples have held a dignified silence about their divorce and never mention anything relating to it in public. Their divorce has also cast a doubt as to whether this former pair can reconcile at least on a professional level. While Mangal performs solo in private events and television programs, Naghma is continuing her career as a professional artist.

Naghma remarried after her divorce and mentioned that he is from Logar Province.

Naghma's daughter married Afghan singer Safiq Mureed, in a private ceremony in 2014. Naghma's main home and her children are in California but she has also made a place for herself in Kabul and Islamabad.

In March 2014, she became the first Afghan to receive the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and the Pride of Performance, the highest Pakistani Presidential Awards handed to artists, sportsmen, scientists, and writers. It was a proud moment for Naghma who has always been a strong voice for the Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Naghma encourages Afghan refugees to try and go back to Afghanistan through her aid work and music to rebuild the country.


She has recorded over 500 songs in a period of 32 years in Afghanistan, Pakistan and also in the United States. This list is incomplete

Album: Bachi Hamsaya

  • Bachi Hamsaya
  • Aros
  • O Bacha
  • Maida Maida
  • Nazi Jan
  • Ba Yin Sazi Mahali
  • Ghataghani
  • Shekesta Chelamey
  • Imroz
  • Tu Ra Meparastam
  • O Dilbar Janim
  • O Bacha
  • Jama Narinje

Album: Best Of Naghma

  • Charsi Halika Stargi
  • Janana ke Pashton
  • Halka Daroghjan Mee
  • Raghlay Yama Damor
  • Za Ba Gidi Rawdim
  • Chita Che Zi Mat
  • Raza Da Zandgi Sra
  • Yara Rana Wrak Nashi
  • Janana Rasha Da Shamali
  • Hagha Sra Oshan
  • Allah Wi Zamazda

Album: Kabul Nazaneen

  • Salam Afghanistan
  • Delbar Jan
  • Ghataghani
  • Yaram Nest
  • Darbigeri
  • O Dilbar Janam
  • Nazi Jan
  • O Bachi Afghan
  • Maida Maida Baran
  • Em Roz Che Roz Ast

Album: O Khoda Jan

  • Az America Wa Alman
  • O Khuda Jan
  • Sharshara Baran
  • Shab Amadam
  • Bebe Roko Jan
  • Kashki Ma
  • Man Dokhtari Sherazam
  • Mara Az Ashiqi Bas
  • Mohabat
  • Pesta Forosh

Popular Singles:

  • Mazdigar De Ka Nade
  • O Bacha Jane Bacha
  • Lalaya Hawa Baza
  • Kandahar Halika
  • Adam Khana Charsi
  • Mohabbat
  • Mohabbat (Slow Version)
  • Lalo Lalo
  • Mala Chal Ne Razi
  • Akh Janan Me Laro
  • Zma Afghanistana
  • Loya Khudaya
  • Orbal Chapa Kra Bya Rasta
  • Akhshe na ni na (Attan De Gada Da)
  • Mubarak Di Sha Akhtar
  • Lalai de
  • Dilbar Zalim Zalim
  • Wa Grana
  • Nor e Newranawo
  • Ay Da Watan Da Abay Roka Zoya
  • Afghani Mashoma
Contributing artist


  1. ^ a b "Pakistan awards Pride of Performance to Afghan singer Naghma". The Khaama Press News Agency. 24 March 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  • Afghanistan Online. Muted Musicians See Hope in Young Performers. Retrieved on 27 August 2005.
  • Boston Globe. The Tale of the Pashtun Poetess. Retrieved on 27 August 2005.
  • Delusions of Adequacy Reviews. Review of Anthology of World Music: The Music of Afghanistan. Retrieved on 28 January 2006.
  • Doubleday, Veronica. Red Light at the Crossroads. 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 3–8. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  • Mikalina. Afghan Music Before the War. Retrieved on 27 August 2005.[dead link]
  • Baily, John(1988). Music of Afghanistan: Professional Musicians in the City of Herat. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-25000-5

External links[edit]