Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nami Danam

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A nice piece of qawwali on JVC's Japanese CD Ethnic Sound Series. One-upping King's qawwali installment with Jaffar Hussain Khan, JVC did a session with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. While the sound is a bit garbled, it still manages to show off the prowess of the gentle mountain of a man. The album starts out with a classic ghazal composed by Amir Khusran, the legendary originator of the qawwali form. It moves into praise songs of Fariduddin Ganj-e Shakar and Data Ganj Bakhsh, a pair of Pakistani saints in the Sufist tradition. The album's finale is another ghazal, this one much more recent, and in Punjabi rather than the usual Urdu for qawwali. The sound quality is lacking a good bit, with the vocalists occasionally disappearing in a wash of fades seemingly by accident, with the dholak being the only audible instrument for stretches of time. Luckily, the dhol players do a fine job of propelling the music during these stretches, letting Nusrat come directly into the rhythm once the engineers switch it back over to the vocalists. Given the wealth of Nusrat material available on the market, this album suffers somewhat from competition by its own featured artist on superior recordings and better productions. Give it a listen as a completist, but look for the better stuff otherwise.

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