Mar 10 2008

Music & Video: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Published by at 4:52 pm under Music,Videos

I first encountered the amazing voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through a fortuitous accident about seven years ago. Up until that point, I had not heard of the great master of ecstatic Muslim/Sufi music of Pakistan and India known as Qawali music. At the time I was living in Hawaii, and I wanted to purchase a gift for my wife. I noticed a music store that was going out of business, so I walked in to see if I could find an interesting CD. Most of their shelves were bare, except for some miscellaneous world music CDs. I didn’t recognize any of the names. Most would have been difficult for me to even pronounce. But the photograph of this large man seemingly glowing with “rapture” grabbed my attention. I bought it knowing nothing more. When my wife later opened her gift and we sat listening, we were spellbound. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Rapture: An Essential Selection (Music CD)
by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Watch the following video clips for a taste of a live performance. If you are new to Qawali music, give your ear a few minutes to start to appreciate it. Feel how the music slowly builds in passion. The rhythm of the tabla drums grows more demanding, inciting the heart to race forward. The voices become more plaintive, calling out, crying out to the Beloved. Through this music, the ache for God builds and then explodes into ecstatic union.

Although the person who first posted these video clips identified this concert as “Live in Pakistan” several commentators on YouTube claim it is actually from a concert in the U.K. Wherever the concert took place, there’s no denying that it was “Live”!

I hope you enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Music & Video: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan”

  1. Raineon 17 Mar 2008 at 5:10 am

    Nasrat came to Australia to perform many moons ago, so singers with Eastern and Sufi interests knew of him and had heard him. We also saw him perform then, many many times in Oakland and Berkeley after 1989 until he passed away.

    I first starting hearing his songs under the inflluence of the record albums of a parsi in Maharashtra in India. owned by Mr. Adi K Irani. This was around 1977.

    Around 1987 we learned Nasrat's songs and called our singing party "John Conners annd the Gopi's", and we instantly became, possibly the first English Language and Urdu singing Westerners to belt out Qwaali. (Qwaali~Kawaali~Qawwali, many spellings) cassettes were flying thru our hands from one singer to the other. Treasured sheets of Urdu to English script were exchanged, as our ears clumsily tried to pick up Urdu, an exquisite poetic language. Translations even, from one Mr Bhau Kalchuri, were put to the tunes also. Ecstatic times of claping and singing have continued to this day for me.

    May Nasrat rest in union with his Beloved. The replacement person? The amazing Begum Abida Parveen (Parween) one of he great Qwaali, ghazal and Kaafi singers of today!

    The best of the best, gahzal singer? the late Begum Aktar.

    In Song, qwaali, ghazal and Mantra, Raine-Rani

  2. Ivan M. Grangeron 17 Mar 2008 at 5:52 am

    Great post, Raine! I'd love to hear more.

    My own knowledge of modern ghazal singers is spotty. I've seen a couple of videos of Begum Abida Parveen performing. I agree — she is truly amazing. I have to admit that, other than having heard of Begum Aktar, I don't know much about her. I look forward to exploring and learning more…


  3. shankaron 21 Apr 2008 at 3:28 am

    Hi Ivan.

    Just heard the ghazal that you have posted the videos for and was searching the web for it's lyrics/meaning and came across your blog.

    Wonderful stuff! (u'r blog i mean 🙂

    We share some things:

    – computer pgmer by profession.

    – Colorado (was there for close to 7 months in 3 trips from India a couple of yrs back – Broomfield actually – but I loved Boulder!)

    – spiritual path (i follow the Art of Living – though I like to read other stuff. Made many friends in Boulder satsangs!)

    – Your metabolic problem (i had an accident after which I too have had various probs – recently am reading about hypothyroid/ fifth chakra issues. Am going for a check soon – Have quit my job and am doing some freelance work when I can.

    All the best for all that you are doing! mail me sometime – we can share gyaan.


    p.s: The first two lines mean

    'in the residence of love,

    give birth to your dwelling"

    Power to all so we can do it

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