Birth name Nasrat Ali Parsa
Born February 22, 1968Kabul, Afghanistan
Died May 8, 2005 (aged 37) Vancouver, Canada
Genres Soft rock, pop, ghazals, classical
Instruments Tabla, harmonium
Years active 1987–2005
Labels Ariana Records Negah Entertainment
Nasrat 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.
Emigration to India
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.
A star in Germany
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.
In 2005, Nasrat Parsa was invited to perform at 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 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. One of the infuriated men, dissatisfied with the justification, unexpectedly 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. Immediately unconscious, the singer did not recover from his injuries.
On Sunday, May 8, 2005 at 11:15pm (Pacific Time) Nasrat Ali Parsa, 36, was pronounced dead at a Vancouver hospital.
The man who punched him was found guilty of manslaughter and given a conditional sentence.
On May 12, 2005, Nasrat Parsa’s body was flown back to Germany for burial. The grief-stricken bereaved family members and fans around the world individually held services to honor the late singer. Notably, the funeral held at Sayed Jamaladen Masjid by Habib Qaderi on May 15, 2005 in Orange County, United States, drew thousands of sorrowful fans. Other cities, in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Afghanistan also held similar mourning sessions. His grave is situated in Frankfurt, Germany in Mainzer Waldfriedhof.
Laguna Beach vigil
On May 13, 2005, a candlelight vigil was held in memory of the late singer in Laguna Beach, United States. The event, which drew many fans and sympathizers, called for a conscious effort to respect all singers from Afghanistan. Furthermore, it called for active action against violence in future concert events to protect the other musical assets of Afghanistan. The vigil was held with an Islamic theme to honor his family’s religious tradition. Similar ceremonies were also held thereafter in various cities around the world in honor of the singer. His nephew, Haris Parsa, has continued to perform Parsa's songs.
“ We are deeply saddened and deeply touched by Nasrat Parsa’s death. Singers are the moral property of a society. - Gholam Mohamed Yosufzai (Acting Deputy Minister of Information of Afghanistan in Agence France-Presse, May 10, 2005 ”
“ The death of Parsa on Mother's Day must have been heart-stopping news for his mother and family. - Salim Alim (Music Retailer, CBC.CA News, May 10, 2005 ”
“ He never smiled in any of his pictures... perhaps he had sensed his life's tragic end at the hands of his countrymen beforehand. - Ozair ( Nasrat Parsa Vigil, Laguna Beach, CA. May 13, 2005) ”
Darga (Spring 1992)
Donya (Winter 1995)
Gohar (Summer 1996
Saya (Summer 1997)
Negah (Summer 1998)
Live In Concert-Germany (Spring 2000)
Naaz (January 2004)
Dil (Fall 2005, released posthumous)
Hindi Songs (Spring 2002)