by S. Ghilzai / Published on November 11, 2014
Naim Popal is an Afghan singer, composer and songwriter.
Naim Popal was born in Kabul on June 18, 1954. One of ten children, Popal was raised by his father, who worked in the Minister of Energy, and his mother, a housewife, in the Demazang area of Kabul. He developed a love for music at a very young age, and was part of a band called Lalaha in high school, where he was the lead vocalist and keyboardist. The band became quite popular with Kabul’s youth, and the band traveled around the country giving concerts. After finishing high school, at the age of 18, Popal auditioned for Radio Kabul. His ample vocal range, coupled with his good looks, won the studio executives over, and they asked him to come and record a few singles. Popal’s first single “Laila Nowroz Ast” became a hit, and helped propel Popal to fame, and to continue recording with Radio Kabul. Popal released many singles in the 1970’s, and travelled the country performing at concerts and festivals.
In 1975, Popal decided to move to Tehran and establish himself with the budding Iranian music scene. Popal teamed up with a friend, Khalil Ragheb, and recorded two tapes (where Popal sang and composed), and filmed several music videos. Popal moved between traditional ghazal style music, and pop music of the time. His lyrics tended to focus on love, heartbreak and even spirituality. He was praised by many of Iran’s music elite at the time such as Googoosh and Dariush which only pushed Popal to even greater fame, outside of his home country. However, when the Iranian Revolution occurred, Popal was forced to flee to the US. He moved to Los Angeles where he has subsequently been based. He still writes, composes and records music, even holding concerts in Afghanistan.