There Will Never Be Another Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
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There Will Never Be Another Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

जाने वाले हमारी महफ़िल से

चाँद तारो को साथ लेता जा

जाने वाले हमारी महफ़िल से

चाँद तारो को साथ लेता जा

हम खीजा से निबाह कर लेंगे

तू बहारो को साथ लेता जा

– नुसरत फ़तेह अली ख़ान


Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, formerly known as Pervez Fateh Ali Khan, was born on October 13, 1948, in Faisalabad, Pakistan. After his father’s death in 1964, he resumed a full-time career in singing at the age of thirteen, under the musical guidance of his gifted uncles, Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan.

He is universally perceived as having the greatest voice ever recorded as a Qawwal, His collaborations with Peter Gabriel and other Western recording artists contributed significantly to the growth of qawwali art, poetry and music. He brought Qawwali music to the mass market with multiple Grammy nominations.

In 1997, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s album ‘Intoxicated Spirit‘ received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album. In the same year, ‘Night Song‘ earned a Grammy nomination for Best World Music Album.

After a six-week trip spanning Italy, Spain, France, and Germany, Nusrat had something to say, in a one-on-one conversation with the Herald.

“We were playing to packed venues, and many people were upset because they couldn’t get tickets to our shows. Surprisingly, the audience was primarily composed of Europeans. They don’t speak our language, but we present our art in such a way that they don’t need to. We deploy rhythm and melody in such a way that they don’t need to. The Europeans claim that we do not judge language, but rather art.”

Listen to his most notable music on Spotify by clicking here.

Notable Compositions

Afreen Afreen

(Praise to her Creator! Praise to her Creator!)

This composition was published in 1996 as part of the Sangam album. Khan composed the ghazal song, which was penned by Javed Akhtar. This one was released during the IndiPop and Fusion music mix period, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina Mustehsan subsequently performed it on season 9 episode 2 of Pakistani musical TV programme Coke Studio.

As of August 2021, it had garnered 342 million views on YouTube and become the most viewed Pakistani-origin YouTube video.

Mere Rashke Qamar

(O Envy of the Moon)

Fana Buland Shehri, an Urdu poet, wrote Mere Rashke Qamar, a ghazal-qawwali. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan composed the song. He initially sang it in 1988 alongside his nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. By playing the song at numerous performances, the two helped to popularise it. The song was remade in 2017 for the film ‘Baadshaho’ by writer Manoj Muntashir and musician Tanishk Bagchi.

Sanu Ik Pal Chain Na Aave

(I’m not at peace even for a moment)

Released in 1993, this song was a part of the Mehfil-e-Sama concert Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Vol 28. The song was brought back to life in Ajay Devgn and Ileana D’cruz’s movie ‘Raid’.

Mera Piya Ghar Aaya

(My beloved has come home)

This song was originally a Punjabi song composed in the 18th century and is now part of the ‘Qawwal: The Essential Collection.’ It was composed by Punjabi poet Baba Bulleh Shah and was included in several of Khan’s qawwalis. In 1995, the song was resurrected in the film ‘Yaarana‘. Madhuri Dixit is the star of the song.

Ye Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai

(His slight intoxication that is there)

The song was written by the king of qawwali himself and published in 1992. In the film ‘Fanney Khan,’ starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Rajkumar Rao, the lyrical composition was brought back to life.

Further Achievements & Death

In 1995, he was given the UNESCO Prize for ‘Greatest Musician‘, demonstrating how far his fame had risen. In the same year, he appeared on soundtracks with Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, indicating how well-known he had become.

‘Gurus of Peace’ was a song contributed by Fateh Ali Khan to A. R. Rahman‘s album Vande Mataram, which was published to commemorate India’s 50th anniversary of independence.

After Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan death on 16 August 1997, aged 48, music journalist Paul Williams chose a concert performance by Fateh Ali Khan to include in his 2000 book The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: A ‘Top 40’ List, continuing a career filled with awards and acclaim. Williams explains his pick of the Top 40 artist achievements of the twentieth century in the book, a distinguished ranking that highlights Nusrat’s popularity.

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