Composer of revolutionary songs Ahmad-Ali Ragheb dies at 76

December 9, 2020 - 18:25

TEHRAN – Composer Ahmad-Ali Ragheb, who was known as “one thousand music man” and wrote music for numerous revolutionary songs, died at his home in Tehran on Tuesday evening after suffering from cancer for five years. He was 76.

The epic piece “Congratulations on This Victory” was one of his most famous works composed with a poem by Hamid Sabzevari on May 24, 1982 hours after the liberation of the southwestern Iranian city of Khorramshahr during the Iran-Iraq war. 

The song was recorded with singer Mohammad Golriz who also collaborated with Ragheb on another revolutionary piece “This Is the Call of Freedom from the Orient” composed by poet Sabzevari.   

He also wrote music for Sabzevari’s “USA, USA, Shame on Your Deceits!”, which was performed by a chorus and solo tenor Esfandiar Qarabaghi after the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. 

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting holds over 1,400 compositions by Ragheb in its archives.

Born in the northern Iranian city of Bandar Anzali, Ragheb began his career in music in his childhood by performing harmonica. He later shifted to playing santur, and his performances were highly acclaimed and immensely popular.     

His serious education in music, however, commenced with courses on playing tar with maestro Yahya Niknavz.

He also pursued a teaching career in some schools in his hometown and at the same time began collaborating with an orchestra at Gilan Province’s radio.

Ragheb made trips to Tehran twice a month to improve his skills in classes with tar virtuoso Ali-Akbar Sarkhosh. His desire for learning drew him to move to Tehran, where he also began learning oud and setar.   

The victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 marked a beginning of a new age in Iran’s music world, and Ragheb began a collaboration with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), as it was one of the few centers that were allowed to work in the country’s music world.

Until his death, Ragheb continued his collaboration with IRIB where he worked with dozens of singers and songwriters, including Sabzevari, Golriz, Saed BAqeri, Mehrdad Kazemi, Abdolhossein Mokhtabad, Bahram Hasiri and Sina Sarlak.

Ragheb also composed many memorable songs, including “Hi Classmates”, which was recorded in the 1980s by a chorus to celebrate the reopening of schools.   

In February 2013, Ragheb received a lifetime achievement award during the 28th Fajr International Music Festival.

Photo: Composer Ahmad-Ali Ragheb in an undated photo.

MMS/YAW

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