Rising Afghan artist determined to follow his dream

Published April 22, 2024
The budding Afghan artist performs at an event in Peshawar. — File photo
The budding Afghan artist performs at an event in Peshawar. — File photo

PESHAWAR: The Pashto album of a teenage Afghan singer has received overwhelming response from music lovers and encouraged him to follow future goals he has set for himself to reclaim the past glory of music legacy.

The family of rising Afghan artist Subhan Latif shifted to Peshawar following Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August, 2021. The teenage singer has recently has launched a Pashto album titled ‘a tribute to Ustad Khial Mohammad’ that received an overwhelming response of more than 40 million people for his velvety voice.

“The Afghan duo - Suhrab Latif and Subhan Latif -- sang oldies of the livening legend Khial Mohammad and broke record of Pashto music chart,” said Dr Rashid Ahmad Khan, the director of Angaaze Music Production at Bacha Khan Trust.

Subhan Latif recently performed at musical concert under the auspices of Angaaze Music Production (AMUP) where senior musicians, folk singers and local artists turned up. The event was organised with an objective to pay a tribute to ghazal maestro Khial Mohammad and also adore his classic Pashto music.

Subhan Latif wants to launch YouTube channel and get foreign scholarship

Message of peace and tolerance could be transmitted through musical diversity in a befitting manner as music had no boundary and it was an effective weapon to counter hatred in all its manifestations, said the rising vocalist. However, he sought financial assistance for trumpeting the cause of Pashto music.

Nazir Latif, the father of Subhan Latif, told this scribe that music had been in their veins for more than 200 years as he hailed from a classic Afghan music family and trained his two teenage sons Suhrab Latif and Subhan Latif in classical melodies.

The two brothers were in 7th grade in a Kabul school during the regime change but continued education with a private tutor alongside music training. They have learnt playing tabla, harmonium and basics of music including classical and modern music. The rising rock star belonged to fourth generation of renowned Ustad Nabi Gul associated with King Zahir Shah during 50s and 60s.

“I can sing Persian, Pashto, Urdu and English numbers but lack modern digital gadgets like laptop, smart phone, home studio and several other accessories. If get a foreign scholarship, I and my brother will conduct research on comparative study of classical and modern Afghan Pashto music,” said Subhan Latif.

He said that Ustad Khial Mohammad had always been his ideal because he had influenced several generations of folk artists and even set trends in light ghazal and folk singing. Subhan Latif has recently attracted millions of audience on social media following release of his album.

“Atif Aslam, Haroon Bacha, Justin Beiber and Gul Panra are my favourite singers. I wish we could do an album with rock star Nehal Naseem and do some Urdu remixes. I can play guitar, keyboard and almost all the traditional instruments. I feel more at ease with harmonium as I love Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali and Shah Wali Afghan, who left an indelible mark on my mind,” said the artist.

About his future plans, he said that he and his brother planned their own YouTube channel ‘Aahang-i-Afghan’ through which diverse musical trends would be introduced provided they could get financial support.

“I want to launch YouTube channel, grab a foreign scholarship and get the relevant digital paraphernalia. Presently our family members live at a rented house in Peshawar feeling safer,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2024

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