Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

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About Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

From his beginnings in the 1960s until his death in 1997, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was regarded as the world’s foremost master of qawwali, a style of Sufi devotional singing famed for its hypnotic intensity. Sitting cross-legged on carpeted stages during marathon performances, he would pierce the heavens with his mighty voice, improvising on melodic refrains while delivering passionate poetry. Born in 1948 in Pakistan, Khan grew up in a Muslim family whose roots in qawwali dated back six centuries. He first gained global attention with a memorable performance at England’s WOMAD festival in 1985, and soon after he became a leading name on the international stage, releasing albums on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records label and collaborating with a range of artists (including Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder). Khan was just 48 when he passed away, but he left behind an enormous legacy, influencing artists as varied as Bollywood composer A. R. Rahman and blues guitarist Derek Trucks.

Faisalabad, Pakistan
October 13, 1948

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