Shafqat Ali Khan

Sublime Sufi

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An album from the prodigy progeny of Salamat Ali Khan, Sublime Sufi explores new directions in Sufic music from the subcontinent, primarily in the qawwali tradition. While the vocals are essentially traditional, the instrumentation is decidedly modern, with heavy use of electronic keyboards and drum machines, as well as the introduction of some Western and Middle Eastern percussion (beyond the tabla) and the complete ignorance of the use of the harmonium. Mandolins and flutes show up here and there, as does a sax and an electric guitar. The end result is essentially a European-esque dance groove with qawwali vocals laid over the top. That being said, Shafqat also delves a bit into the vocal forms of the Hindustani realm, as he sees fit. While he may not be up to the level of a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, it's hard to say that anyone is. Shafqat is a thoroughly capable qawwal, and the directions he takes here are worth hearing for the fusion aspects. The album doesn't always go as well as one might hope for the sake of the fusion, but it always delivers something worth hearing.

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