QAWĀMI, Ḥosyan (b. Tehran, 1288 Š./1909; d. Tehran, 1368 Š. /1989), known also as Fāḵtaʾi, a master vocalist of Persia in the second half of the 20th century.
Qawāmi’s father, a well-known architect, was a music enthusiast who had a collection of the records of the most performances of the Persian vocalists of his time, which he listened to everyday. Ḥosayn was thus acquainted with music from early childhood. He grew interested in singing, especially in performances of two vocalists of the time, Ḥosayn Ṭāherzāda and Reżāqoli Mirzā Ẓelli, whose styles he often tried to imitate. He was in his early teens when his singing talent was noticed by Ḥosayn Esmāʿilzāda, a master kamānča (a spike fiddle) player who lived in the neighborhood and heard him singing. Esmāʿilzāda then asked Ḥosayn’s father for his permission to train his youthful talented son in music, which Qawāmi’s father rejected. This very incident, however, encouraged Ḥosayn to pursue music. He continued listening to his father’s records and trying to imitate his favorite vocalists. Some years later he secretly began taking music lessons from a master musician, ʿAbd-Allāh Ḥejāzi, who taught him for seven years the repertoire (radif) of Persian music and the techniques of singing (Moškin-qalam, I, p. 238)
In 1946, Qawāmi was invited by Ḥosaynqoli Mostaʿān, the director of the Department of Publications and Public Relations (Edāra-ye entešārāt wa tabliḡāt) to perform as a vocalist in the music programs of Radio Tehran. Qawāmi began working with the orchestra of Wafādār brothers (Majid and Ḥamid), but, since he was a military officer, for six months he was introduced on the radio as “the unknown singer” (ḵᵛānada-ye nāšenās) until Ruḥ-Allāh Ḵāleqi picked the pseudonym Fāḵtaʾi for him. A few years after the radio program Golhā was launched, Qawāmi was invited by Dāwud Pirniā, its organizer, to join this program, and he soon became one of its major vocalists. He participated in about 220 various performances of this program, which are considered among the best representations of the traditional Persian music. He was referred to by Ruḥ-Allāh Ḵāleqi as a quintessential artist and among the cream of the crop (gol-e sar-e sabad) of the Golhā program (apud Behruzi, p. 491).
Qawāmi had a distinct style as a vocalist. His voice had a wide range and the tender tone of voice and his smooth modulations gave his performances a very refined quality. He did not make much use of vocal ornamentations. An outstanding characteristic of his singing was the fluent recitation of lyrics and his special talent in conveying their meanings effectively without the slightest deviation from the principles of the music (Behruzi, p. 492, quoting Manučehr Jahānbeglu).
Šāpur Behruzi, Čehrahā-ye musiqi-e Irān, Tehran, 1993.
Saʿid Moškin-qalam , Taṣnifhā tarānahā wa sorudhā-ye Irān-zamin, Tehran, 1999.
(Morteżā Ḥoseyni Dehkordi and EIr)
Originally Published: July 20, 2005
Last Updated: July 20, 2005