Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Devotional Songs

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan opens this album as he often opened his live shows, by calling upon God in the form of Allah to come and bless the gathering with His presence. For that is the sole purpose of the qawwal: to reach God through music, through his voice. And this collection of Devotional and Love Songs is set forth with that in mind. Unlike some of Khan's more Western-influenced releases, such as Mustt Mustt and Night Song, the songs are presented here with minimal instrumentation (mostly harmonium and tabla) in the traditional call and response form, with Khan singing a line that is echoed by the party of musicians that shares the stage with him. Surprisingly accessible and captivating, you need not be a Muslim or a seeker of any kind to recognize the power of this music. Just try to not sway and clap in rhythm. Bet you can't. With the repetition of certain phrases and syllables, qawwali music is designed to bring both the musicians and audience to a heightened plane of reality, an almost trance-like state of existence. For when Khan's voice soars up to the heavens and then swoops back down to bring you along for the ride, you are swept away without a second thought. That is why, prior to his death in 1997, Khan was considered the brightest star in qawwali, the master of this art form.

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