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Agar Bahar Biyayad: Ahmad Fanous

This ghazal is sung by the famous Afghan ghazal singer Ahmad Fanous, accompanied by his son, pianist Elham Fanous, and by Ravi Albright on tabla,  Kim Mai Nguyen on viola and Avery Waite on cello. The combination of tabla, cello, viola and piano with ghazal singing is unique and together they reimagine this popular piece wonderfully.

Nguyen and Waite have spent 10 months in Kabul, Afghanistan where they have performed this piece on several occasions and recorded it on their recent album, Drifting East.

“Agar Bahar Biyayad” was composed in the 1990s by Ahmad Zahir, known as “the Elvis of Afghanistan,” and widely considered one of the all-time greatest singers in Afghanistan. Fanous smoothly matches Zahir with his mellifluous voice to render justice to this popular song.

The words, in Farsi, are from a folk song. It is another love song, about the arrival of spring.

اگر بهار بیاید، ترانه ها خواهم خواند
Agar bahar byayad, taranaha khwaham khand
If spring comes, I will sing songs

ترانه های خوشی، عاشقانه خواهم خواند
Taranahaye khose, ashiqana khaham khand
I will sing happy, romantic songs

Ghazals are a traditional genre of poems set to music. Though they originated in Arabic poetry, the popular versions of ghazals sung in South Asia today can be traced to the 13th century Delhi Sultanate (present day India) poet/musician Amir Khusrau. 

The ghazal is fundamentally romantic, often including overtones of both love and the pain of separation from love. The lyrics may also have a hidden double meaning that suggests another story which must be kept hidden.