Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Magic Touch

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Originally released on the Oriental Star Agency label in the early 1990s (and now reissued by Music Club at mid-price), this collaboration between the great qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and producer Bally Sagoo is one of many seemingly unlikely projects that have emerged since Khan's untimely death in 1997. Khan grew up steeped in the classical tradition of Northern India and later became the greatest living exponent of qawwali, the Sufi devotional music of Pakistan. But he was always interested in blending qawwali's traditional sounds with more modern rhythms and textures; hence this album, on which Sagoo takes Khan's soaring vocals and nestles them in a deep bed of hip-hop, reggae and club beats. "Jhoole Jhoole Lal" gets a dreamy, dubwise treatment; "Sahnoon Rog Laan Walia" and "Mera Pia Ghar Ayaa" chug along to a sort of modified house beat; "Kinna Sohna" benefits from a swinging acid jazz setting. Khan's throaty wail cuts effortlessly through everything, to wonderful effect. Highly recommended.

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