“Every great artist is born a genius. Great art is inherently noble and sublime. It transports the audiences into a state of sublimity, ecstasy, sweet agony, inner harmony and peace. Such is the effect of the “chorus-singing” called “Qewwali” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He has become a legend of our time with his unique combination of “Traditional Ragas” and the modern beat of Western orchestra. Theclassical singing is traditionally slow, yet his adaptation to the fast rhythm of rock music is no less than a modern marvel of East-West cultural blend…..There is a strange magic in his voice which is beyond analysis.”
Ahmed Agil Rubi and Sajjad Haider Malik: “Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn. A Living Legend.”
Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn was undoubtedly the most recognized singer in Pakistan, and one of the world’s greatest singers of Sufi devotional music. On August 16, 1997, at the age of 49 he died in a London hospital. The artist was revered worldwide for his musical genius and for his contributions to the music and film industries. He received several Grammy nominations and countless of accolades worldwide. His songs appeared in films such as “Dead Man Walking” “Bandit Queen” and “The Last Temptation of Christ,” where he collaborated with Peter Gabriel, and in “Natural Born Killers,” he sang a duet with Eddie Vedder.
To many music fans in the U.S., Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was just another name in the all encompassing world of the music industry. While he was principally recognized for his traditional, religious performances, anyone who heard him sing recognized that he was a unique genius whose songs of religious Sufi devotion, or qawwali, were a pace-setting phenomenom that profoundly influenced the music industry. For Sufis, Islamic mystics, music plays a significant role in religious rituals and practices. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was, and continues to be, a national symbol in Pakistan, where he enjoyed a fervent following that spanned generations.
Many categorize Khan’s vocals as intense, some as intense, some as mesmerizing. While his songs were sung in the Pakistani tongue of Urdu, one did not have to feel the deep and encompassing religious faith that embodied Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music. Many were categorized as long performances that integrated emotion and complexity to the backdrop of stringed instruments with an upbeat harmony accompanied with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s incredible voice.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan participated in a number of music festivals in Europe, Canada and Japan, and in the United States. Virtually every concert in which he performed commanded sell-out crowds. He appeared before heads of states and was invited by major universities to sit as a visiting professor and scholar of the arts. The deep rooted traditional manner in which he performed commanded respect from all his peers in the arts. His unique performances were matched by no other group of Pakistan or Eastern traditional music. It is for this that he will be remembered.
Our office is truly honored to have served Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. We are proud of his accomplishments and to have in some way participated in his musical integration in the United States. He will be missed and remembered fondly as an extraordinary artist, but most importantly as our friend.