by S. Ghilzai / February 5, 2016
Ustad Awalmir was an Afghan musician. Awalmir was born in 1931 in Peshawar, which at that time, was part of British India. Ustad Awalmir was Pashtun, and started learning various musical instruments as a teen, such as the harmonium and guitar. He started singing and composing songs-specifically ghazals (poetic songs), and performed for the first time at the age of 18 at an Afghan Independence Day celebration. Malang Jan, a local poet, helped Ustad Awalmir get recognized by and featured on Afghan radio stations. His entire collection of music consists of over 250 songs in Pashto, a lot of which dealt with themes of patriotism. Awalmir’s contribution to the music of Afghanistan gained him the honorary title of Ustad (meaning expert or master) by the Ministry of Culture and Information. Awalmir died on April 24th 1982, at the age of 50.
Below is a video of Awalmir’s most popular song, “Da Zamong Zeba Watan” or “Our beautiful homeland”. Many Afghans, especially Pashtuns consider it as a sort of unofficial national anthem.