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Monday, April 15, 2024

Pakistan’s Sufi music in international arena: Coldplay pays tribute to Amjad Sabri

Britain's rock band paid tribute to deceased Pakistani qawwal, Amjad Sabri in its latest album. A soothing expression of love and respect for the fans of Amjad Sabri who are still in grief with his grim and early departure.

British rock band, Coldplay, paid a tribute to Pakistan’s late qawwal, Amjad Sabri, in its latest album, ‘Everyday Life’.

Chris Martin, the lead singer of the band, in an interview, revealed that their new album is about sharing their experience and empathizing with others. The theme of the album surrounds the idea that people on the earth are part of one big family.

Coldplay, in the song ‘Church’ from the album, has paid tribute to Amjad Sabri. Martin told in the interview that there are two more singers in the song – Amjab Sabri from Pakistan and Norah from Jerusalem. He added that they have incorporated a sample from ‘Jaga Ji Laganay’-Amjad Sabri’s popular qawwali, in the song ‘Church’.

“There are two cool other singers on that one. There’s this guy who was a Pakistani singer called Amjad Sabri. He was sadly murdered by people who didn’t like what he stood for. Then there’s a friend of ours called Norah, who is a guy from Jerusalem. I’m the third-best singer on that track,” he said.

Read more: Shahenshah-e-Qawwali: Reminiscing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Amjad Sabri, Pakistan’s iconic Sufi singer, was gunned down in Karachi nearly three years ago by unidentified assailants when he was returning home. Amjad Sabri succumbed to gunshots, leaving thousands of his fans in grief.

Sabri was classed as a prolific qawwal with powerful vocals and undying devotion towards mystic Sufism. Now three years down the line, the vacuum left with Sabri’s departure is strongly felt by his followers who desperately await as compassionate qawwal to draw them into a mystical journey with a soulful voice.


Nevertheless, Pakistan has produced abundant singers who have claimed international fame with their unmatched skills, be it Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Amjad Sabri or the current generation of singers like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam.

Pakistan’s legendary singers and international fame

Legendary Qawwali maestro, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan passed away 22 years ago but left behind tremendous artistry that is still lauded by people of every age group.

In his lifetime, NFAK worked with Indian composer AR Rehman. NFAK’s work made reverberations among western audiences when he collaborated with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ in 1985.

Popular western singers like Madonna, Michael Stipe, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins were the visitors to his concerts in the USA. His western audiences did not comprehend the language he performed in but described his work as ‘mindblowing’.

Read more: Don’t Compare Me To NFAK, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Remembers The Legend

His nephew, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan also ascended to international fame with his stunning performances globally. One of his momentous performances ahead of a spectacular international audience at the Nobel Peace Prize’s ceremony in 2014 further bolstered his global glory. His enthralling performance with sixth-octane notes and piercing voice captivated the audience. RFAK received a standing ovation from a mammoth of the audience gathered in Oslo at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2014.

RFAK, the nephew of NFAK comes from the family that has been steeped in the tradition of qawwalis for six centuries.

RFAK became the second Pakistani singer to achieve the grace to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize platform, the first being the Junoon group which performed in the ceremony in 2007.

Over the years, Pakistan has produced exceptional performers and singers over the years that have taken Pakistan to k in the field of music and art.