Today marks the death aniversary of "Shahenshah-e-Qawwali" Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is certainly one of the most influential singers. His voice is universally recognised as one of the great voices in musical history and he was key in bringing the Qawwali music tradition to the Western world.
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in areas with a historically strong Muslim presence, such as southern Pakistan, and parts of North India.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was born on 13 October 1948 in Lyallpur, Punjab now Faisalabad, Pakistan. He was the fifth child and first son of Fateh Ali Khan, a musicologist, vocalist, instrumentalist, and Qawwal.
Khan began by learning to play tabla alongside his father before progressing to learn Raag Vidya and Bol Bandish. He then went on to learn to sing within the classical framework of khayal.
Khan's training with his father was cut short when his father died in 1964, leaving Khan's paternal uncles, Mubarak Ali Khan and Salamat Ali Khan, to complete his training.
His first performance was at a traditional graveside ceremony for his father, known as chehlum, which took place forty days after his father's death.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan collaborated with many Western musicians including Peter Gabriel, Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook. His vocals appeared on soundtracks to films directed by Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Tim Robbins.
His Facebook page has 462K Likes.
Quotes about Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's voice was otherworldly. For 25 years, his mystical songs transfixed millions. It was not long enough .... He performed qawali, which means wise or philosophical utterance, as nobody else of his generation did. His vocal range, talent for improvisation and sheer intensity were unsurpassed.
—Alexandra A. Seno
"There are great singers, and then there are those few voices that transcend time. The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan could not only transcend time, but also language and religion. There was magic when he opened his mouth, a sense of holy ecstasy that was exciting and emotional. It wasn’t uncommon even for Western listeners, who didn’t understand a word he was singing or follow his Sufi traditions, to be moved to tears upon hearing him.
He’s my elvis. I idolize Nusrat, he's a god, too.
Nusrat is one of the greatest singers of our time. When his singing takes off, his voice embodies soulfulness and sprituality like no other.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan A Living Legend His voice was a conduit to heaven.
The place where my voice finishes ,Nusrat used to start from that place.
He used to go and sit by the ocean, and watch it for hours and hours. And one day it occoured to me, that I, as a viewer, am in fact seeing two oceans, for this man himself is an ocean.
Working with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was the closest I got to god.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Bollywood
Khan contributed songs to, and performed in, several Pakistani films. Shortly before his death, he recorded a song each for two Bollywood films, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya and Kachche Dhaage.
He sang a song for the film Dhadkan. He also sang Saya bhi saath jab chhod jaye for Sunny Deol's movie Dillagi. The song was released in 1999, two years after Khan's death.
Khan contributed the song "Gurus of Peace" to the album Vande Mataram, composed by AR Rahman, and released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of India's Independence.
Rahman, who was a big fan of Khan could not do further songs with him. As a tribute, Rahman later released an album titled Gurus of Peace, which featured Allah Hoo by Khan. Rahman's 2007 song Tere Bina was also done as a tribute to Khan.
Khan was taken ill with kidney and liver failure on 11 August 1997 in London, England, while on the way to Los Angeles USA in order to receive a kidney transplant.
He died of a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital, London, on Saturday, 16 August 1997, aged 48. His body was repatriated to Faisalabad, Pakistan, and his funeral was a public affair.
Many honorary titles were bestowed upon Khan during his 25-year music career. He was given the title of Ustad after performing classical music at a function in Lahore on his father's death anniversary.
Khan is widely considered to be the most important qawwal in history.
In 1987, Khan received the President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance for his contribution to Pakistani music.
In 1995 he received the UNESCO Music Prize.In 1996 he was awarded Grand Prix des Amériques at Montreal World Film Festival for exceptional contribution to the art of cinema.In the same year, Khan received the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.
In 2005, Khan received the "Legends" award at the UK Asian Music Awards.
Time magazine's issue of 6 November 2006, "60 Years of Asian Heroes", lists him as one of the top 12 artists and thinkers in the last 60 years.
He also appeared on NPR's 50 Great Voices list in 2010.
In August 2010 he was included in CNN's list of the twenty most iconic musicians from the past fifty years.
Top 10 Qawallis
1) Piya Re Piya Re
2) Afreen Afreen
3) Allah Hoo
4) Ye Jo Halka Halka
5) Mast Mast (Dam Mast Qalandar)
6) Kinna Sona
7) Tum Ek gorakh Dhandha Ho
8) Tumhe Dillagi Bhool Jani Padegi
9) Mera Piya Ghar Aaya
10) Yad-E-Nabi Ka