Nasrat Parsa (نصرت پارسا, February 22, 1968 – May 8, 2005) was a popular Afghan singer. Up until his murder, he continued his music in exile from Hamburg, Germany, occasionally touring other countries.
Nasrat Ali Parsa was born in a suburb of Kabul, Afghanistan. His family, especially his oldest brother Najibullah Parsa, was already involved in music to a certain extent and the environment of a musical household helped materialize Nasrat’s artistic talents. According to Nasrat’s personal account, he was first discovered after singing the songs of Ahmad Zahir on a national radio broadcast. After the singer heard the renditions of his songs by the 7 year old Nasrat, he got in touch with the child and invited him to sing with him. Thus was Nasrat’s formal initiation into singing.
Due to Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the ensuing disruptive guerrilla fighting, Nasrat Parsa and his family left Afghanistan in 1981 for Pakistan and subsequently to India. They took residence in the capital city of New Delhi, a popular destination for most war civilians. There, the 12-year-old Nasrat was said to delve into studying music to find comfort from the negative psychological effects of the war. He attended the school of music under the apprenticeship of classic Indian singer Daish Pandi. Although the classical music of Afghanistan and Indian classical music differ a bit in tone and rhythm, the training nonetheless gave Nasrat a foundation to prepare his voice and gave encouragement to the amateur to pursue his interest professionally. He also studied with Ustad Monawar Ali Khan, a leading authority in certain Indian music styles who taught him details of musical instruments and notes. It was these lessons that would prepare him for performing the ghazal that he later became known for in Europe.
After a few transition years in India, Nasrat and his family immigrated to Germany. Establishing contact with other fellow countrymen in Hamburg, Nasrat became more involved in the music scene with the other exiled singers and musicians. There, he taught Waly Hedjasi, better known as VALY, a highly acclaimed musician.
From his initial involvements in private parties to the formal weddings where strong singing background is considered, Nasrat’s name ranked high on the choice list. At this time, he started working on recording professional albums as well. His initial works met with moderate notability; however, they were commercially steady in success.
At weddings he was acclaimed for the warm welcoming of the bride and groom with his number Maa Destmal Aawordaim (ما دستمال آورديم ) (Gohar Album) which roughly translates as “we‘ve brought our brother’s bride.” This album established Nasrat as a respected singer and also garnered him praise of critics. As a matter of fact, the monumentalizing of the bride and groom union following the entrance anthem of Ahesta Boro (آهسته برو) in weddings with the hit song of the Gohar Album is now a strong tradition of Afghan weddings.
His performances hereon became regular, and he often teamed with other singers to perform in various cities outside of Germany.
On May 7, 2005, Nasrat Parsa performed a concert in Vancouver, Canada, on the occasion of Mother’s Day, opening a comprehensive tour that was scheduled to include several cities in North America. At the height of his popularity, and on the occasion of promoting his upcoming album Dil, the singer flew to Canada where he performed to a large crowd of fans, some of whom saw him live on stage for the first time.
During a break on his concert, Nasrat was approached by a group of 3 young men claiming to be his fans. They asked him, aggressively, if he would sing more upbeat songs. He stated to them that he could not because he was not prepared to perform such songs. The singer maintained his composure and was respectful to the attending mothers who came to his concert on the occasion of Mother’s Day.
After the end of the concert, Nasrat was with his brother, Najib Parsa. At that moment, the three young men returned, and they asked the singer’s autograph and to make a picture with him. One of the infuriated men, dissatisfied with the justification, punched the singer in the face. This caused him to slump in shock and lose his balance. Nasrat fell down a flight of stairs, hitting his head on one of the concrete cases, and became immediately unconscious.
The singer was brought to hospital, but failed to recover from his injuries. At 11:15pm on the following day, Nasrat Ali Parsa, 36, was pronounced dead at a Vancouver hospital.
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