The 64th birth anniversary of internationally renowned late Pakistani singer and musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was observed on Saturday with much respect and reverence all across the country.
Maestro Nusrat Fateh who was primarily a singer of Qawwali‚ the devotional music of the Sufis was born on October 13‚ 1948 in Faisalabad. He was popularly known as “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali”‚ meaning “The King of Kings of Qawwali”.
His voice is universally recognized as one of the great voices in musical history and he was key in bringing the Qawwali music tradition to the Western world.
The fame and reputation he got from all over the world is exemplary. Khan created a world record of releasing as many as 125 audio albums as a Qawwal which includes legendary numbers like Dum mustt Qalandar mustt‚ Ali Maula Ali‚ Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai‚ Mera Pia Ghar Aya and many others.
His notable albums include Mustt Mustt‚ Night Song‚ The Final Studio Recordings‚ Shahen-shah and many more. His last album was The Ultimate Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan‚ Volume 2 that was released in 1983-1984.
His vocals appeared on soundtracks to films directed by Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Tim Robbins.
‘Seminal’ is a word which often gets overused when describing great works of art but it is directly applicable to two of the albums he recorded for Real World Records, both of which were collaborations with Michael Brook: 1990’s ‘Mustt Mustt’ and 1996’s ‘Night Song’.
‘Night Song’ was nominated for a Grammy and was described by Billboard as: “A work of great beauty…an album for the ages, defying genre and solidifying Khan’s stature as one of the world’s pre-eminent singers.”
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s legacy has enraptured millions across the globe with his magnificent and haunting voice. In his lifetime he collaborated with many Western musicians including Peter Gabriel, Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook.
It was the late American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley who, in 1993, described Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as “my Elvis”.
Many Americans first heard his haunting voice in the film Dead Man Walking, but he also introduced a new generation of Pakistanis to their own traditional music.
He also toured to the UK for concerts under the sponsorship of the Oriental Star Agencies (OSA). He further gained popularity in the West through his contributions to the soundtracks of “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Natural Born Killers.”
He sang for and performed in a number of Pakistani films. Shortly before his death, he also recorded songs for two Bollywood films. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan died on August 16‚ 1997 in London.