Publishing Date: Saturday, July 14 2012
Khair Muhammad Khandan, born in 1956, is a popular singer from Paro Khel village, roughly 30 km from Khost city. He started singing whilst still at school at Rahman Baba School in Kabul.
Most of his poetry are selected from the works of Nawab Amir Zai, who also went to the same school with him. Although the poetry is not deep in meaning, it does reach through to the common man and touches topics of patriotism, and issues related to the Pashtun diaspora living in the middle east and the west. His songs have a local folk touch to them. Many of his folk songs have been rendered into new musical compositions. For instance, "Gul Sanam" by Farhad Darya was quite popular, although it was initially sung by Khair Muhammad many many years before Farhad got hold of it.
Nawab Amir Zai
Original Gul Sanam song by Khair Muhammad
Khair Muhammad Khandan is also popular for another genre of songs called the Naaray. Naaray are epic poems, recounting incidents of bravery by tribe members or the whole tribe in general. They were initially sung by the older women-folk in villages and are similar to the Ghaarhi sung in Balochistan, the Kasr of the Marwats, or the Charbeta and Badala. The difference is that Naaray are sung in chorus, occassionally with drum-beats, whereas the Charbeta and Badala are sung by a single singer, and are accompanied with instruments like the Harmonium, Rabab and Tabla.
One such Naara presents the following picture:
وړکو تړلې په ملئې کمربندونه جنګ ته ځي
د پکتيا د ژڼو صبا لښکر دې
Boys are laced with bandoleers round their waists
Men of Paktia, tomorrow we go to war!
Khair Muhammad Khandan was also a candidate for the Olasi Jirga elections in 2005 from Paktia province. However, he was not successful and only managed to get 0.6% of the votes.
We provide you with some of his classical Naaray.
Note: More information about Naaray is given in this article by Muhammad Zaman Khan Achakzai
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