Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Farhad was born in January 1944 in Tehran. In 1966, he began to play with Shahbal Shabpare, Shahram Shabpare, and Hassan Shammaiezade in an early Iranian music band: Black Cats. (The band is still working with Shahbal Shabpare and some other young musicians in the U.S.) Two years later, Farhad left the band and started to make his way in music. What makes Farhad unique among his counterparts is first the nihilistic side of his song lyrics (which were mostly by Ahmad Shamloo, Ardalan Sarafraz, and Shahriar Ghanbari) and secondly, the street culture which can be heard all over his music.
In 1969, one year after breaking up with Black Cats, Farhad released his first single, "Lonely Man," with lyrics by Shahriar Ghanbari and music by "Esfandiar Monfared Zadeh." It was part of the soundtrack for the movie Reza Motori (Reza, the Motoracer). After "Lonely Man," his next three singles were "Friday," "Gray Week," and "Mirror" from 1970-1971.
The theme of almost all these songs is nihilistic. "Smell of gift, smell of cannon, smell of lights" or "The fear of leaving undone, the holiday homework of school" from the well-known song "Puerile sound very familiar to Iranians, especially in the days near the celebrations of nowrooz (New Days, New Year). His music often includes such street culture.
Actually, he should be considered as an artist with avant-garde ambitions in the early days of newborn Western-oriented Iranian popular music. Parallel to the pre-Islamic revolution tensions in Iran, Farhad released some political conceptual singles with lyrics by Shahriar Ghanbari and Ahmad Shamloo like "Nocturnal 1," "Tired," "Ceiling," "Collapse," "Sweet Little Bird," and "Nocturnal 2." (Later, all but "Tired" were gathered in a single album called Oneness.) After the Islamic Revolution, Farhad didn't leave Iran and made three album releases, Oneness, Asleep in Wake, and Snow. Oneness and Snow were completely original albums while Asleep in Wake is almost a covers album. In Asleep in Wake, Farhad covered many English songs, including Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye." Snow contained eight new songs, which were written in the post-revolution era.
In the post-revolution era, Farhad experienced many difficulties hiring a concert hall for his performances. In 1997, he made a solo performance in the U.S. with a piano played by himself, reminiscent of days gone by for an audience when they used to be in their own home country.
Farhad died after two years of treatment in Iran and France, in August 2002 at the age of 59. After his death, a collection of his works, from the beginning of his career to the end, entitled Farhad 159, was issued as a five-disc set. It also contained some of his interviews with the media as well. He is buried in Thiais cemetery outside Paris.