Iconic folk singer Kaban passes away

The much-loved Kurdish folk singer died in his home city of Sulaimani.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) — Karim Kaban, the much-loved Kurdish folk singer died on Thursday. Hospitalized since the end of December for a broken leg, Kaban died of organ failure in Shar Hospital in Sulaimani, local sources report.

Born in 1927 in Sulaimani, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Kaban released his first album in 1945. At age 20, he managed Radio Baghdad's Kurdish Department. Kaban, whose career spanned over half a decade, is a household name for Kurdish families around the globe.

Kaban, whose full name was Abdulkarim Jalal Mahmood Aziz Kaban, was not a prolific artist but his songs have a special place for many Kurds. “Bedarani Shaw” (Night Owls) is one of his most popular love songs.

In addition to being an artist, he was outspoken and socially-engaged. Due to such activism, the ruling Iraqi Ba’ath party imprisoned him several times throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Upon hearing news of his passing, heartbroken fans stormed social media with messages of condolence to his family and by linking to many of his songs and sharing personal memories of him.

“Mal awa, [Thank you] for leaving us such a beautiful legacy that we can continue to enjoy,” posted Sweden-based musician, Chia Madani, on his Facebook fan page.

In 2015, Kurds lost two other beloved musical figures: Abdullah Ghorbani, nicknamed Abdullah Machkaei, and Abbas Kamandai, both from Sanandaj (Sina), Kurdistan Province, Iran. Both artists suffered decades of censorship under the Islamic theocratic rule.