Naghma (Pashto: نغمه, born January 1, 1964) is a prominent Afghan singer who started in the early 1970s. She and her ex-husband, Mangal, were a popular musical duo who dominated Afghan music scene during the 1970s and early 1990s. Naghma sings in Pashto and Dari (Persian). Her music is popular in Afghanistan, western Pakistan and Tajikistan.
Naghma was born as Shaperai (Fairy) on January 1, 1964, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She belongs to the Pashtun ethnic group. As a young girl, she developed an interest in music. Her early songs were based on Kandahari songs, most of which were folkloric in nature but were essential in training the novice. After moving to Kabul, Naghma held various jobs, all the while pursuing her passion. Coming from a traditional family, she met with much resistance from relatives who saw singing as a demeaning career for an Afghan woman. However, Naghma was not discouraged by this. Naghma became joined a musician-turned-singer Mangal, a fellow Pashtun from Laghman Province of Afghanistan, and eventually married him.
With impending civil war, the couple left Afghanistan for Pakistan in 1992. There, they became very successful with an enthusiastic crowd of Afghan exiles who were nostalgic for their native music. Their financial situation by this time had improved significantly. In the late 1990s, they left Pakistan and immigrated to the United States.
After establishing contact with the Afghan community of northern California, the duo held a series of performances. However, Naghma and Mangal have since divorced, citing Mangal’s alleged continual alcohol abuse, and the couple has been sensitive about elaborating further on the issue. Their divorce has also cast a doubt as to whether this former pair can reconcile at least on the professional level. While Mangal performs solo in private events and television programs, Naghma is continuing her career as a professional artist. She is known to be very patriotic of Pashtun culture (Afghan culture) and has dedicated many songs to Afghanistan.
It is believed that in 2007 she along with her four children left from the United States to return to Pakistan and settle in Islamabad.
In 2006, Naghma’s new single ‘Mohabbat’ was released. This was the first time she had pop song. It is a favorite club remix and the accompanying video is also Kabul TV station’s and AfghanMTV’s most requested video. The song is one of the highest ranking Afghan songs in the world. Also in that year, Naghma returned to Afghanistan to give a round of concerts in various cities with Naim Popal, another popular Afghan singer. During her concert held in Kabul, the crowd showered the singer with rose petals.