Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Pakistan: Vocal Art of the Sufis, Vol. 2 - Qawwali

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The gentle mountain of a man Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, by all counts the greatest qawwal of his generation, put out this album of a more or less traditional qawwali performance. The album begins with a song in praise of Allah. Following is a praise of Mohammed, then a praise of Mohammed's son-in-law Ali (founder of the Shia branch of Islam). Finally is a song in praise of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, an Indian saint. The virtuosity on the album is quite amazing. With only the accompaniment of a harmonium, a drum, and backing handclaps, Nusrat was able to put forth the full range and power of the human voice. In "Allah-Hu," a rather quick-tempo piece, he performed some of the techniques that also separate masters from students in the ancient dhrupad of India, as well as the high-speed drum instructions/imitations native to such music. Beyond the first song, the praises of humans also invoke instrumental sections (again relatively virtuosic) and more of the forceful singing of Nusrat. For those who are interested in the later sounds of Nusrat, once they had been somewhat more pre-packaged, this is a more traditional form of performance and should be enjoyed thoroughly by all.

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