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Culture & Art

‘I May Give up on Music,’ Regrets Talented Kurdish Singer Navid Zardi

By Ava Homa 26/2/2014
Navid Zardi lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. Photo: N. Zardi/Facebook
Navid Zardi lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. Photo: N. Zardi/Facebook

TORONTO, Canada – He is loved by tens of thousands of fans, but emerging Kurdish singer and songwriter Navid Zardi fears he may soon have to give up on his love for music.

Who knows, when Zardi performs with the highly established and popular Kurdish singer Nazer Razazi at a Newroz concert in Stockholm on March 22, it could be the last time he goes on stage.

Zardi, who resides in the German city of Dusseldorf and sings mostly in Kurdish, says that he needs to be able to pay his rent, and music does not earn him an adequate living. His savings are ending and he has to decide between his devotion to music and the harsh realities of life.

The singer says he is touched that he has fans everywhere.

“Some of my fans email me from small villages I had never heard of before,” he told Rudaw. He is amazed and touched by the supportive emails he receives from the Kurds he doesn’t know.

But, that is not enough to keep him going, he says.

Zardi sings in a variety of styles such as pop, hip-hop and rap and his songs have social, political, romantic and even sometimes highly personal themes, expressing his strong emotions,  objections, insights into life and sympathies for those in distress.

“My emotions are the purest when I sing in Kurdish,” Zardi told Rudaw.

He was one of the first Kurdish singers who immediately released a protest music video when Farzad Kamangar, the Kurdish teacher, poet and human rights activist was executed by the Iranian government in May 2010, charged with “enmity with God.”

The music video project was a collaboration with the well-known avant-garde Iranian artist, Shahin Najafi.

Iranian university student Sane Jaleh’s death in 2011, during an anti-government protest in Tehran, also triggered Zardi’s creative and artist talents, resulting in a music video in which Zardi empathizes deeply with Jaleh’s mother.

For the most part, Zardi writes his own songs. Although inclined towards originality, he says that at times he finds lyrics that he knows are beyond his own creativity. That’s when he sings someone else’s poems.

Even though Zardi usually responds to his environment in a timely manner, such as the situation of the Kurds in Syria, he is not an artist who would force or limit himself to occasional singing.

When it comes to song writing, Zardi does not follow an agenda. “I allow the moment and my strong emotions shape and write my lyrics.”

The son of a political activist, Zardi left his hometown of Mahabad for Germany in 2010. That is when he discovered that: “My Kurdish roots are more important to me in exile than they were at home.”

Zardi has been writing songs and singing for many years, yet he finds himself writing about Kurds much more now than when he was home.

This does not mean that the artist does not like Europe. He enjoys his life in Germany because this self-imposed exile, despite the bitterness, means less anguish for him. “I am not constantly harassed by the political and cultural oppression I suffered from in Iran,” he says.

“I don’t really want to give up on music,” Zardi explains at last. “But if I have to, I want my fans to know why I had to make that decision.”

Zardi’s music is available on




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lecho | 26/2/2014
sad reality of Kurdish musicians,I hope there are kurdish business men who could sponser singers like Zardi. even Mazhar Khalaqi who is a scientist by which he supports his family in the uk. does Kurdish music to keep the language,culture alive
Hiwa | 26/2/2014
I have never heard of this guy! We have too many of these so called "talents", in fact they are all crap. How can you even call these people artists or hunemends when Hassan Zirek is a Honermend! These people are not on his level but they are called the same.
Shahram | 27/2/2014
Hiwa , are u still sleeping ? Wake up man this is 2014 and talk about hasan zirak what the hell wrong with u ! Can hasan zirak sing rap and hop hop ? Hahahahah this guys funny
Mardin | 27/2/2014
Navid Zardi is a real Kurd. He dedicates more of his time For singing only for we Kurds. He adores his Homeland and most of his songs have a powerful love for our nation. he is a 100 percent Artist or Hunermend. I and thousands of Eastern Kurdistan, just like the other kurds love him and follow his beautiful and sympathetic songs. If I could , I would help him for sure. He is our Favorite Artist.
manijeh | 28/2/2014
NO, Don't give up on music. you must be with your people with music. DO NOT GIVE UP
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