Well-known Afghan singer Qamar Gul, who was popular for her Pashtu songs, passed away at the age of 70 in Canada on Friday evening, her relatives confirmed.
Qamar Gul’s relatives said that she had been battling cancer and had been undergoing treatment at a hospital in Toronto in Canada.
Qamar Gul, who was often referred to as “the golden voice” by local media, was an acclaimed Afghan female singer who had a huge fan base among Afghans at home and abroad. She was famous for singing Pashtu songs but had over the years also recorded some Persian songs.
Although it was difficult for women to perform in Afghanistan due to prevailing traditions, she fought against these traditions and made a name for herself in the country.
Qamar Gul, daughter of Gul Shirin, was born in 1952 in the Shaga area of Kuz Kunar district in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
Qamar Gul began performing at family gatherings at the age of eight and soon her charming voice and talent was popular across the province. She became popular after she was invited to perform at a concert in Jalalabad city in the province.
Her career as a singer took off in the early 1970s however when she met famous composer and singer Ustad Hafizullah Khyal. Ustad Khayal invited her to record her songs at the National Radio and Television of Afghanistan.
Her first song to be publicly released “Pa mina stargi sari di” put her on the map and this was soon followed by her second song “Za entizar kawom ista stargo” which was broadcast on National Radio and Television.
Early in her career, Qamar Gul married Ustad Zakhil, an Afghan composer and singer who supported her music career.
The couple had two sons, Eimal Zakhil and Khaibar Zakhil.
Qamar Gul’s popularity continued to grow through the 1970s especially after the release of her song “Ro Ro Kekde Qadamuna Ashna”. Afghanistan’s former King Mohammad Zahir Shah acknowledged her talent and awarded her a gold medal.
She also performed in various countries around the world over the years including Russia, and Pakistan as well as in the Middle East.
During her career, Qamar Gul received many awards; In 1983, she was awarded the title of “Golden Voice” by Afghan former president Babrak Karmal, and in 2007, she was awarded the title of “Bul Bul-e-Afghanistan” by former president Hamid Karzai.
Qamar Gul fled the country during the Soviet Union invasion and spent a few years in Pakistan before settling in Canada.