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I came across Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan while looking to expand my musical horizons not so long ago. I read an article about his life and the meaning behind his work. Born in Pakistan into a family devoted to Qawwali music, he continued the tradition of his predecessors of the last 600 years and became a hugely celebrated, cult figure to the audience of his genre. He became world renowned, appreciated by artists such as Mick Jagger, until he died in the late 90’s at the young age of 48.
What is Qawwali?
Qawwali is a Muslim genre of music listened to particularly by followers of the Sufi form of Islam. It’s creation came in the 13th century when religious men of India, Persia and Arabia came together to start a new musical tradition and has persevered ever since. It has however been heavily discussed recently after major events in the Middle East. Islamic extremists deem Sufism and its followers to be committing heresy (treason, betrayal of sacred belief) because of the ‘mystical’ elements of the Sufi sect and the worshipping methods that are used. Qawwali music plays a role in this and therefore has came under scrutiny from the extreme branches of the Muslim world.
But Qawwali is a genre which uses classic literature to create songs of peace, tolerance and love. Something that can be felt through listening to the albums of Ali Khan and others.
I enjoy listening to world music and I am fascinated by world cultures. The Middle East is no different and I love the history and tradition. Today it is often painted as a part of the world full of war, hate and disruption but outsiders have played their part in it’s destabilisation. I hope that one day I will be able to appreciate the beauty of the Middle East. I have long held dreams of walking through the Ancient City of Damascus, Syria, considered to be one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of the world. Of course I recognise the near impossibility of this right now and I can only hope that things get better for the Syrian people very quickly. There is never a humane reason for the cruelty which they have suffered…
”Music of a People”
”Massive Attack treatment. Spiritual Trip-Hop and it’s class.”
”Take me to another world”
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Mustt Mustt (Real World Records) Buy Here.
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