Vafa’i, Jamal (1940-)
Vocalist specializing in classical Persian singing, as well as folk songs and popular lyrical ballads. He was born into a family of vocalists, studied with Isma‘il Mihrtash at the Barbad Society, and performed in his first concert at Tehran University in which he accompanied an ensemble of masters of classical Persian music at the invitation of Dr. Mihdi Barkishli (1912-1988), the famous physicist and musicologist.
He performed on Radio Tehran from 1966 through to 1978 and made numerous recorded performances on the Golha-yi rangarang, Barg-i sabz, and Yik shakh-i gol programmes, most of which reflected his extraordinary vocal powers and great talent. After recording scores of programmes of classical singing and up to forty different lyrical ballads composed by notable composers such as ‘Abbas Shapuri, Mihdi Khalidi, and Habibu’llah Badi‘i, Jamal Vafa’i turned away from his work on the radio and the field of classical singing as exemplified in the Golha programmes. He changed his course and devoted his entire attention to types of singing that were simple to perform, popular, and more lucrative. Singing in Iranian films and performing in cabarets were thus to determine his future destiny as an professional artist, and following his emigration to the United States in 1980, this talented vocalist has trodden this same path.