18 Aug 2009

Remembering Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Sunday 16th August marked the 12th anniversary of the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, also known as Shahen-Shah-e-Qawwali which translates as 'The Brightest Star in Qawwali'.

Qawwali music is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia with a tradition which stretches back for hundreds of years. It is a primarily vocal music with eight or nine singers accompanied by one or two harmoniums and percussion. The best Qawwali draws and holds the audience's attention, altering the listener's state of consciousness to make it intensely receptive of the content.

Nusrat was responsible for bringing Qawwali music from Pakistan to the Western world and this was largely due to his collaborations with many Western artists. He collaborated with Peter Gabriel for the album 'Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ a film by Martin Scorsese'. Nusrat also sang with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on the film soundtrack to 'Dead Man Walking' exposing his unique voice to a global audience.

Nusrat has one of the largest recorded outputs of any artist with over 125 albums to his name. His collaborations on Real World Records with Michael Brook are regarded as modern classics - 1990's 'Mustt Mustt' and 'Night Song' from 1996.

The late singer Jeff Buckley was a huge fan and referred to Nusrat as "My Elvis".

Nusrat's voice and music continue to enrapture and entertain audiences worldwide and his legacy lives on, inspiring artists from all different creative backgrounds.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - October 13, 1948 - August 16, 1997.