میرزا نظر خان / Mirza Nazar Khan – 78 rpm on HMV

Mr. Mirza Nazar Khan – Bâza Kâr e Man …

It is known that first Afghan music recordings were made by the Gramophone Co. Ltd during the first part of the 20’s, under HMV label.

According John Baily in his book “War, Exile and the Music of Afghanistan” (Routledge / SOAS Musicology Series – 2015), ” (…) in the Afghan list for June 1926 (of the Gramophone Company in India) (…) we find no less than forty 78 rpm records under the name Kassim Afghan”. Ustad Kassim recorded then some songs during the 30’s, at least this one found by our friend Mads and in which he is paying tribute to King Nader Shah who was killed in 1933. In all cases, many Kassim songs can now be found on the web and a cd was even released in the US during the 90’s with some of his old recordings.

Less is known (at least by Westerners) about Mirza Nazar Mohammad Mansouri – also known as Mirza Nazar Khan – who was probably the second after Ustad Kassim to record afghan songs, once again for the Gramophone Co. Ltd.

Mirza

Contrary to Ustad Kassim, Sir Mirza Nazar Khan was an amateur musician, working as a diplomat in Afghan embassy in Paris during the 20’s. According to Dr. Qayum Bilal, when King Amanullah Khan came on visit in London in 1928, a plane was sent especially to Paris to bring Mirza Nazar Khan to England in order to play music for the King. During his stay, he recorded some songs that was later published by the Gramophone Co. Ltd. As he was the only Afghan musician living in this area at this time, these recordings were made solo, without tabla or anything like this.

The 78 rpm presented here is now part of the collection of the French National Library. We can see on the labels of the second picture (see below) the name of the original owner who was Roger Dévigne, former Director of the National Phonothèque and who passed away in 1965. We thank him a lot for having let his records as a legacy to the national archives.

We just share here soundclips of this record, but complete tracks are available on the site of Gallica (the French national Library).

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Mr. Mirza Nazar Khan – Poushideh Bâz…

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