Homeyra (Persian: حميرا) is the stage name of Iranian singer Parvaneh Amir-Afshari (Persian: پروانه امير افشاری). She is a veteran celebrity of Iran's Golden Years of music. Her voice has been measured to span three octaves. She currently continues her music career from Los Angeles, her home since her exile after the Iranian Revolution.
Homeyra was born 1945 to an aristocratic Iranian family in East Iran. Her family’s distinction is still evident as the name of Amir-Afshari is, to this day among eastern Iranians, synonymous with affluence. Her father was a Malek (Grand Landlord) who owned over 150 towns in Iran. Her family's eminence was later to be an opposing factor in Homeyra's passion for singing.
She was exposed to Persian music from an early age. Her family often hosted large dinner parties to which Iran's greatest musicians and singers were invited for guest entertainment. Revering other musicians and singers, the young novice became interested in singing. Her father took notice of this and diligently curtailed her exposure further. He also forbade her from performing in presence of non-family members and insisted if she must sing, then she do so only for him. He and the matriarchs of the family saw her singing as a disgrace to the family's name.
At age 16, Homeyra married a German-educated Iranian businessman. He allowed her more freedom and encouraged her to sing professionally. So she took music lessons and also signed up for voice training courses. She secretly attended composer Ali Tajvidi's classes for two years, leading her father to believe she was learning to drive a motor vehicle.
While attending Tajvidi's classes, he composed a song for her and persuaded her to record it as a single for release. Despite her reservations, she agreed and when the song "Sabram Ataa Kon" was played on Iran's radio stations, she became an overnight sensation, and this at age 18. However, in order to disguise herself from the exposure, she chose Homeyra as the name to which this song was to be attributed. It was said this was a first for a debutante singer to gain such quick renown throughout Iran with just a hit single.
The enthusiastic record companies were soon to vie for the copyright to the song for wider distribution. When it was officially released in an album, Homeyra's father, recognizing her voice, tried a last minute effort to quell her career. He purchased every single album he could find – both legal and pirated copies – to remove the remnants of his daughter's voice from reach. However, some of the copies fell into the hands of loyal fans and he could not stop the furor of Homeyra's fame thereon.
Label: Caltex Records | Released: 2004 | Length: 229'23"