M. Saeed Chisti

Quari-Sage Miran, Vol. 1

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Despite a slightly deceiving cover depicting what would appear to be a sitar, santur, and oud, this is a basic album of qawwali from M. Saeed Chisti. The album is essentially of the same variety as those of the Sabri Brothers, which is to say quite well performed but stuck forever in the shadow of one massively (and sheerly massive) popular figure in the genre. Chisti and his ensemble perform quite well, with Chisti opting for a relatively straightforward, nearly spoken delivery for much of the course, something of a Pakistani recitative. Such a delivery pushes the focus to the poetry of the lyrics (which are generally lost on foreign listeners), but also opens the possibility of some interesting rhythmic structures and phrasing choices. The album as a whole is pretty good. It's hard, if not impossible, to make an album of qawwali and avoid comparisons to the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and just as hard to make such an album and rival or surpass Nusrat. This album is just another example of that phenomenon. It's a fine album, but hardly compares to the ultimate great in the genre, and will likely remain relatively unknown as a result.

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