Ahmad Fanoos

Musician in Residence, 2022-2023

Ahmad Fanoos is a well-known Afghan vocalist and harmonium player, having headlined and performed in live and televised performances in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, and beyond. Ahmad has been recognized with many prestigious awards, including the Best Artist Award in Afghanistan (2008) and the Golden Voice Award in Dubai (2012). He served for three years as a coach and a judge for Afghan Star, the influential television program showcasing talented young Afghan performing artists that served as a catalyst for social and cultural change in Afghanistan by spanning all ethnic, language, and gender lines. 

Ahmad Fanoos has also appeared in films and radio and enjoys a significant international following on social media, including YouTube and Facebook. Because of his notoriety as a musician and progressive ideals, his life, livelihood, and family were threatened by the Taliban. He escaped from Kabul on a Fox News evacuation flight in the closing weeks of the US presence in Afghanistan in late August 2021.

He is now reunited with his two sons, Elham Fanoos (Pianist) and Mehran Fanoos (Violinist). Together, they have established the “Fanoos Ensemble.” They are currently performing and touring as part of a project called “Heart of Afghanistan,” along with a tabla player. Ahmad and his sons are telling the story of Afghanistan from its pre-Islamic Buddhist heritage through their own arrangement of traditional Ghazals based on Rumi’s poetry and other influential Persian poets, songs by the legendary pop icon Ahmad Zahir, and Afghan folk songs from different ethnic groups in different dialects. The idea is to give a 360-degree view of Afghan culture through music, poetry, art, and cultural heritage.

Photo courtesy of the artist.