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This article is about the Afghan singer. For the Indian actress, see Nagma.
Pashto: نغمه ښاپېرۍ
Naghma 2010-3.jpg
Naghma singing during the 2010 Nowruz celebration at Fairplex in Pomona, California
Background information
Birth name Shaperei (Fairy)
Born 1 January 1964
Origin Kandahar, Afghanistan
Genres Folklore, Pop
Years active 1980–present
Labels Afghan Vision Records, Ariana Records

Naghma (Pashto: نغمه, born January 1, 1964[citation needed]) is a prominent Afghan singer who started in the early 1980s. She and her ex-husband, Mangal, were a popular musical duo who dominated Afghan music scene during the 1980s and early 1990s. Naghma sings in Pashto and Dari (Persian). Her music is popular in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. She is without doubt the most popular female celebrity in Afghanistan and continues to be the voice and face of Pashtun traditional music.

Early years[edit]

Naghma was born as Shaperai (Pashto: ښاپېرۍ meaning Head Fairy) on January 1, 1964, in Qandahar, Afghanistan.[1] She belongs to the Pashtun ethnic group. She was the eldest daughter in a family of five boys and three girls. Her father's name is Syed Suleiman Shah and her mother is Bibi Mashala. Her father was from North Afghanistan. He died while Naghma was still a girl of five years. As a young girl, she developed an interest in music. She used to sing for her school band in Ayno Lece in Qandahar. At sixteen she moved to Kabul with her paternal uncle. She continued her secondary education at Rabia Balkhi Lece where she also 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, and consequently left school to advance her musical career. They were instant celebrities, recording hits that are famous to this day. There was no looking back for Naghma. In Mangal she found a husband who was not only encouraging of her music but was training her and refining her musical taste. Even after their divorce, Naghma maintains that Mangal was the most important person to her career and understanding of music.

Her early songs were based on Qandahari 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 duos the pressure from society was much more bearable as opposed to being solo. Like many other Afghan families, the Russian invasion and the subsequent Afghan civil war forced Naghhma and her family to exile. She first moved to India, then United Arab Emirates, then settling in Pakistan for a period of 7 years and eventually settling in United States in the year 2000. She resides in Kabul, Islamabad and California, United States.

Personal life[edit]

With impending civil war, the couple left Afghanistan for India in 1992. 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.

After establishing contact with the Afghan community of northern California, the duo held a series of performances. In 2006, after years of up and down marriage, the couples divorced. Though no certain reasons have been share by the couples, some believe Mangal's alleged alcohol abuse was the major reason. 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 the professional level. While Mangal performs solo in private events and television programs, Naghma is continuing her career as a professional artist. She is known to be very patriotic of Afghan culture and has dedicated many songs to Afghanistan.

Until 2012 Naghma was living in Union City, CA.

Recent developments[edit]

For a very long time Naghma was known for her folklore music. She was the voice and face of Pashto traditional music. However in 2006, Naghma’s new single ‘Mohabbat’ was released. This was the first time she made a pop song. The song became a huge success and in the same year Naghma returned to Afghanistan to give a round of concerts in various cities to packed stadiums of jubilant fans. During her concert held in Kabul, the crowd showered the singer with rose petals. Since then the Afghan Music Industry has grown at a rapid pace and Naghma is often seen giving concerts for television networks such as Tolo TV and 1TV.


Naghma's public divorce from her former husband Mangal came as a shock to many in the Afghan community, where divorce is considered taboo. Her life was constantly under scope with people bombarding both Naghma and Mangal about the reason behind their divorce. Although many speculations regarding Mangal's alcohol abuse have been reported, both Naghma and Mangal have maintained a dignified silence and have refrained from commenting on the issue further more.

Recently pictures of Naghma and a man were circulating the social networking site Facebook. The pictures looked like Naghma's wedding or engagement. Naghma had stated in her interviews that she was remarried, but did not want to disclose who she got married to because her husband wanted to remain away from the Showbiz industry. After the pictures got leaked, Naghma was asked about the issue on Afghanistan's popular comedy show, Shabkhand on 1TV. She was asked who the man was and why she had put the pictures online. Naghma confessed that the man in the pictures was indeed her husband, but that she is not on Social Networking sites and someone else has made the profile.[2]. She has, however, opened an official Facebook Page to attract fans away from what she calls "fake, tasteless, and shameless scammers".

In March 2014 she become the first Afghan ever to receive the Tamgha e Imtiyaaz( Pride of Excellence), the highest Pakistani Presidential Award handed to artists, sportsmen, and writers.

In a country like Afghanistan it is hard to know how many songs or record labels she has recorded, but it could be said with confidence that she has more songs and recordings of any Afghan singer, male and female. She has recorded over a 500 songs in a period of 32 years.


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


  • Afghanistan Online. Muted Musicians See Hope in Young Performers. Retrieved on August 27, 2005.
  • Boston Globe. The Tale of the Pashtun Poetess. Retrieved on August 27, 2005.
  • Delusions of Adequacy Reviews. Review of Anthology of World Music: The Music of Afghanistan. Retrieved on January 28, 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 August 27, 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]