Home Media & Culture Shahenshah-e-Qawwali: Reminiscing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Shahenshah-e-Qawwali: Reminiscing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The maestro, Pakistan’s greatest music icon, is known for having one of the greatest voices ever recorded and his tunes globally influenced the face of music. Khan possessed a six-octave vocal range and could perform at a high level of intensity for several hours.

Qawwali

News Desk |

Legendary Qawwali maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan breathed his last 22 years ago today, leaving behind a legacy of Qawwalis that are applauded by people of all ages.

Universally known as the Shahenshah-e-Qawwali – The King of the Kings of Qawwali – was born on October 13, 1948, and died in London of liver and kidney diseases at the age of 48 in 1997.

The maestro, Pakistan’s greatest music icon, is known for having one of the greatest voices ever recorded and his tunes globally influenced the face of music. Khan possessed a six-octave vocal range and could perform at a high level of intensity for several hours.

The world is remembering the legendary singer for his contribution to music. He has contributed greatly to the genre of Qawwali, a musical tradition prevalent in the Middle East and South Asia.

Khan was the fifth child and first son of Fateh Ali Khan, a musician, vocalist, instrumentalist, and Qawwal. Extending the 600-year old Qawwali tradition of his family‚ Khan is widely credited with introducing Sufi music to international audiences.

In July 2019, the worldwide qawwali fans were jubilated when it emerged that a rare and high-quality recording of the maestro is set to be released soon.

He has worked with India music composer A R Rehman and film lyricist Javed Akhtar. He reached out to western audiences through his work with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ in 1985. He also sang for a number of Pakistani and Indian films.

The Guinness Book of World Records states that Khan holds the world record for the largest recorded output by a Qawwali artist – a total of 125 albums as of 2001.

Many believe that his first major hit in Pakistan was the song Haq Ali Ali, which was performed in a traditional style with traditional instrumentation.

Fans Remember the ‘Singing Buddha’

His countless hits made people wanting more of his soul-touching music. Fans took to online platforms to remember the musician on his death anniversary.

“The Singing Buddha (as he was titled once by his #Japanese fans) died on this day in 1997. Representing #Pakistan, #NFAK promoted message of love, peace & harmony throughout the world,” wrote a fan on Twitter.

“The day music died! World will never produce anyone remotely close to his level,” another fan shared on Twitter.

Another fan found a photo of Khan standing with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

Google Doodle on NFAK’s 67th Birthday

On October 13, 2015, search engine giant Google had celebrated the 67th birthday of Khan with a doodle on its homepage, calling him the person “who opened the world’s ears to the rich, hypnotic sounds of the Sufis”.

“Thanks to his legendary voice, Khan helped bring “world music” to the world,” said Google. Google also gave a link to listen to the maestro’s unforgettable music.

Nusrat Fateh Ali’s Rare Recording to be Released Soon

In July 2019, the worldwide qawwali fans were jubilated when it emerged that a rare and high-quality recording of the maestro is set to be released soon.

The recording is a high-quality version of the midnight performance recorded at the WOMAD festival in 1985. The festival was co-founded by Peter Gabriel. It was with Gabriel’s label Real World that Khan went on to release his recorded albums.

Read more: Nusrat Fateh Ali’s daughter to sue people stealing his music

A number of low-quality recordings of the performance exist online, including YouTube versions. However, the sound does not do justice to Khan, who was said to be at his vocal prime in the performance.

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