Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Emperor (Nascente/Triton)

 |   |  <1 min read

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Man kun to maula
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Emperor (Nascente/Triton)

For many people the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan (who died in 1997) was and remains the greatest ever qawwali singer. He certainly reached Western audiences in a way that few had ever done and among his fans and advocates were Peter Gabriel, Jeff Buckley, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Joan Osborne.

He extended the qawwali style (a form of Sufi devotional singing), incorporated electronic instruments and he brought a powerful vibrato to songs which had previously been delivered rather more straight-ahead. At the heart of the music was his profound faith and his ability to lose himself in the music as he employed his exceptional, six octave range.

There is nothing quite like hearing Khan improvising around a melody as the musicians provide clapping percussion, the harmonium is wheezing in the background and the tabla drums are providing a relentlessly forward momentum.

And there are plenty of moments like that in this double-disc set which scoops up five traditional pieces (average time of each piece a sublime 12 minutes) and another disc of remixes from the likes of Gaudi, Michael Turner and Bally Sagoo. Khan didn't mind remixes at all (his Mustt Mustt album on Real World for example included a Massive Attack remix of the title track) and his style lends itself to x-ray and re-framing.

But always it is that astonishing voice which is at the centre, inspiring and seducing, emotional and uplifting. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

LO'JO INTERVIEWED (2012): The maison where worlds collude

LO'JO INTERVIEWED (2012): The maison where worlds collude

For a medium-sized town in France, Angers – pronounced An-jey, population about 240,000 – boasts a fascinating ancient and recent history. It was once a Roman town, numerous kings... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2013; AMIN ALAEV OF THE ALAEV FAMILY INTERVIEWED (Tajikistan)

WOMAD ARTIST 2013; AMIN ALAEV OF THE ALAEV FAMILY INTERVIEWED (Tajikistan)

Interviewing world music artists is often interesting, sometimes fun and frequently frustrating. Speaking to Amin Alaev of the Alaev Family – who play the Taranaki Womad – is all... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Barnaby Weir

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Barnaby Weir

Barnaby Weir out of Wellington, New Zealand, is best known as the man who steers the ambitious musical carnivals that are The Black Seeds and Fly My Pretties. But his 2011 debut solo album... > Read more

GUEST WRITER ALEC MORGAN looks back at the car culture of Auckland's Queen St in the Seventies

GUEST WRITER ALEC MORGAN looks back at the car culture of Auckland's Queen St in the Seventies

Auckland’s Queen Street has long been a place for young people with wheels. In 1976 the cars would converge from mainly out West (Te Atatu, Henderson, Massey, Glen Eden, Blockhouse Bay),... > Read more