Top eulogist Mohammad-Ali Karimkhani dies at 72

June 21, 2022 - 18:39

TEHRAN – Top Islamic eulogist Mohammad-Ali Karimkhani died at his home in Tehran on Monday after years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He was 72.

Karimkhani was best well-known for the ritual song “A Piece from the Heaven” or “I Came, O King, Shelter Me” that he sang for Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Imam of the Shia.

Born in Narjeh, a village near the city of Qazvin, he was interested in attending religious rituals from childhood. In his youth, he moved to Tehran to receive education on Islamic eulogy from numerous masters in this field.  

“Since childhood, I recited the Quran and was interested in Islamic eulogy,” he once said in an interview.

“During adolescence, I also continued my performances in religious events and received a lot of praise from people. My father and grandfather all enjoyed good voices, but they never performed in any official ceremonies; thus, I’m a born singer,” he added.

He recorded several albums and gave numerous fine performances during religious ceremonies, however, he shot to fame by singing “I Came, O King, Shelter Me”.   

With contributions from composer Aria Aziminejad, he performed the piece with a poem from Habibollah Chaichian, who, in this poem, refers to Imam Reza (AS) as king. The composition features a helpless person begging for help from the Imam at his shrine.    

Karimkhani had even performed the song at several of his relatives’ wedding ceremonies, due to popular demand.   

Vocalist Homayun Shajarian used the melody of the song to record “Man Koja, Baran Koja”, from his album “My Iran”. Accordingly, he dedicated the song to Karimkhani.

Karimkhani and Aziminejad also teamed up for “The Drunkard Cupbearer” about Imam Hussein (AS) and the epic of Ashura.

He was extremely meticulous in selecting a poem for singing and used all the capability of his voice to perform each song. 

His care for exploiting the most appropriate dastgah in traditional Persian music for his performances played a pivotal role to make his works popular.

Photo: A file photo shows eulogist Mohammad-Ali Karimkhani performing in a ceremony.


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