Ahmad Zekrya Naynawaz
By: Amir Khisraw Zekrya - His son
Fazel Ahmad Zekrya, also known as “Nainawaz” (نينواز), is the
legendary Afghan singer, composer and poet who remained a keen
student of art and mysticism throughout his life. The son of Faiz
Muhammad Khan Zekrya, Afghanistan’s famous statesman, poet and
writer, Nainawaz was born in 1935 in the province of Yakatoot
Afghanistan from the marriage of Faiz Muhammad and Bibi Gul Benazir.
In his early teens, Nainawaz taught himself how to play the
accordion and then mastered it under the mentorship of Farokh Afendi
from Turkey. He wrote poems and then composed melodies to match the
poetic cores. Nainawaz was a passionate artist. His artistry
revolutionized Afghan music while giving it a new dimension.
Nainawaz grasped mystical rhythms and expressed them beautifully.
Most of his compositions awakened spiritual and nostalgic feelings.
The great Sufi poet Rumi gave us similar mystical expressions in his
“Song of the Nai” “Song of the Reed” and it was not accidental that
Fazel Ahmad Zekrya became known as “Nainawaz”.
In searching for an understanding of God and the mystical aspects of
our universe, the Quran teaches us to look for God’s signs and to
“Know thyself that you may know your Creator”. In the midst of all
mankind there are few geniuses who are both attuned to the mysticism
of nature and have the ability to comprehend universal truths, and
even fewer who can express these truths to the rest of us. Great
artists express these truths on the canvas of their art; the poet in
his poems, the musician in his music. Nainawaz, “The Reed Player”,
was one of these geniuses. His phenomenal talent in music alone made
him unique and immortal.
No teacher can instruct artists on how to let the refined feelings
of their heart fly on the wings of their music and voice. Delving
deep into his core, Nainawaz brought out the most pleasing and
sincere feelings of his heart. In addition to his extraordinary
musical talent, Nainawaz was a literary man, a patriot, in love with
his county, people and harmony. In reading literary passages, his
voice would vibrate with such emotion that it would enchant the
hearts of his audience.
As one of the founders of the Afghani Fine Arts group, Hunarhai Zeba,
he revolutionized Afghan music while adding a distinctly modern pop
element. During the same period, Nainawaz produced countless hit
compositions rendered by the golden voices of many renowned Afghan
artists such as the legendary Ahmad Zahir, Ahmad Wali, Mahwash,
Saarbon, Delnawaz, Akbar Ramish, Awalmeer and many other beloved
Although in the constant company of intellectual patriots, it was
Fazel’s devoted and pious mother who instilled in him spiritual
consciousness and the love of God. From his only wife Aliea Ahmad
Zekrya, who was the cornerstone of all his accomplishments, he has a
daughter, Sahar Zekrya Aman, wife of the famous artist, Ehsan Aman,
and a son, Amir Khisraw Zekrya, married to Ghezal Zekrya. Nainawaz
always retained a special place for his family in his heart.
Nainawaz‘s life was tragically extinguished by the communist regime
during 29th day of Ramadan, August 5th, 1979. While the scar of his
martyrdom will forever remain sore, his inspiring and joyful music
will always resonate in the hearts of future generations. As a star,
he will shine in the sky of his beloved Afghanistan throughout
Rumi says: “After death don’t search for my tomb on earth. In the
bosom of learned people lies my tomb.”
Also visit his website for a three part biographical documentary on
Setara e Bakht e Eshq Baaz Ah