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 from Elsewhere articles index

Various: Best of Algerian Rai (Arc/Elite)

Various: Best of Algerian Rai (Arc/Elite)

Experts in rai -- traditional Algerian popular music which has latterly incorporated rock and other Western styles -- may quibble about the title here, but certainly some of rai's most famous names... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Voodoo (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Voodoo (Rough Guide/Southbound)

No one would deny Dr John being on this voodoo collection (more correctly “vodou” in Haiti, the country it is most associated with), but the Night Tripper is here with his... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SEOUL: THE NEW ARCHITECTURE AND CIVIC DESIGN OF SOUTH KOREA'S CAPITAL: Phoenix rising

SEOUL: THE NEW ARCHITECTURE AND CIVIC DESIGN OF SOUTH KOREA'S CAPITAL: Phoenix rising

If we are blunt but honest, Seoul -- the capital of South Korea -- can be a hard-edged place where commerce is ruthless and street-life sometimes bruising. That doesn’t mean there isn’t... > Read more

THE BEST AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE WRITING, 2011 edited by STEPHEN PINCOCK

THE BEST AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE WRITING, 2011 edited by STEPHEN PINCOCK

Science is a problem for mainstream media. It isn't sexy, usually can't be reduced to a snappy headline or soundbite, progress is glacially slow in a fast-turnaround world, there are too many... > Read more