The Aspects You Don’t Want To Miss About Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is well known for Qawwali and devotional Sufis music.

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Initially, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was named Pervez Fateh Ali Khan. Wikimedia Commons
Initially, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was named Pervez Fateh Ali Khan. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was born on 13 October 1948 in Faisalabad, Pakistan
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was deeply interested in everything related to music
  • When Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan started his career, it was the period of mass awakening and social upheaval

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is a legend in himself. He is well known for Qawwali and devotional Sufis music. Nusrat Fateh literally changed the general perception about Qawwali. He was born on 13 October 1948 in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Initially, he was named Pervez Fateh Ali Khan and also known by his nickname, Paiji. Nusrat Fateh was the first boy, born after four girls and it made him the centre of attention and everybody’s affection.

Nusrat Fateh birth was celebrated with great fervour. Many reputed musicians, like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Lal Khan, came to the family home to pay homage to the newborn, who was already exhibiting a tendency to plumpness.

In the very beginning only, certain signs seemed to predict a unique destiny for this child with his small hands and remarkable corpulence.

In the first place, Nusrat Fateh’s intended to have him trained as a doctor because his father was well aware of the fact that professional musicians were often accorded a very low status in a traditional society like theirs and that a doctor would command far greater respect. But it was impossible though, to ignore for long a family legacy that was so present in Nusrat Fateh’s blood.

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From his childhood only, Nusrat Fateh was deeply interested in everything related to music. He used to follow the classes when his father used to teach some of his students, absorbing and storing away all the knowledge he could, even trying to play the harmonium when his father was not around.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was called ‘Shahanshah-e-Qawwali’ or The King of Kings of Qawwali. Wikimedia Commons
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was called ‘Shahanshah-e-Qawwali’ or The King of Kings of Qawwali. Wikimedia Commons

Gradually, Nusrat’s father got to know his interest in music and then on some occasions, his father used to shower few words of advice from his father. As his father realised his son’s extraordinary skill, he initiated him seriously into the mysteries of classical music and qawwali.

Nusrat Fateh’s father began him teaching the tabla, then the harmonium and to sing the main ragas and the technique of chanting the poetic phrases.

The learning process was very herculean for Nusrat and the voice had to be absolutely perfect. One day, Nusrat Fateh said, “When I sing, the distance between God and me decreases and the distance between my cheek and my father’s right-hand increases!”

Nusrat Fateh wholeheartedly devoted himself, locking himself up in his room, spending sleepless nights absorbing his father’s lessons and perfecting them.

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He literally inherited the 600-year-old tradition of qawwali from his forefathers.
But his talent was not just limited to qawwali. Nusrat Fateh also collaborated with renowned musicians like Peter Gabriel and Eddie Vedder which saw a union of the electric guitar and the tabla, producing some of the richest fusions of the time.

Nusrat Fateh’s knack for improvisation and the sheer intensity of his chords unsurpassed him as one of the most significant voices from the region.

His voice spews magic and humble sanity which touched millions and hence he was called ‘Shahanshah-e-Qawwali’ or The King of Kings of Qawwali.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's voice spews magic and humble sanity which touched millions. Wikimedia Commons
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice spews magic and humble sanity which touched millions. Wikimedia Commons

When Nusrat Fateh started his career, it was the period of mass awakening and social upheaval. The dictators were sent home and people became more politically conscious than ever. It was during this environment that qawwali made its way to streets and bazaars.

We have compiled a list of the best music composed by none other than Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, have a look.

  1. Mere Rashke Qamar- Baadshaho
  2. Tanhai- Dillagi
  3. Sanson ki Mall ape
  4. Piya re Piya re- Sultan of Sufi
  5. Mazaa aa gya
  6. Afreen Afreen- Sangam
  7. Yeh jo halka halka suroor hai- Qawal and Party
  8. Tere bin nahi lagda dil
  9. Sanu ik pal chain na aawe- Mehfil-E-Sama
  10. Sajna tere bina- Bandit Queen
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