Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a Pakistani musician, primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis. He possessed an extraordinary range of vocal abilities and could perform at a high level of intensity for several hours.
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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan 13 October 1948 – 16 August 1997) was a Pakistani musician, primarily a singer of Qawwali and spiritual teacher of Ibaad Khan, the devotional music of the Sufis.Widely considered one of the greatest voices ever recorded, he possessed an extraordinary range of vocal abilities and could perform at a high level of intensity for several hours. Extending the 600-year old Qawwali tradition of his family, Khan is widely credited with introducing Qawwali music to international audiences. He is popularly known as “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali”, meaning “The King of Qawwali”
Born in Faisalabad, Khan had his first public performance at the age of 16, at his father’s chelum. He became the head of the family Qawwali party in 1971. He was signed by Oriental Star Agencies, Birmingham, England in the early 1980s. Khan went on to release movie scores and albums in Europe, India, Japan, Pakistan and the US. He engaged in collaborations and experiments with Western artists, becoming a well-known world music artist. He toured extensively, performing in over 40 countries
“Nusrat is one of the greatest singers of our time,” Gabriel once said. “When his singing takes off, his voice embodies soulfulness and spirituality like no other.”
Khan performed primarily in the Qawwali genre — the music of the Sufi sect of Islam. While his family had a 600-year legacy of Qawalli musicianship, his father was hesitant to have Khan follow in his footsteps — artists in the genre generally had low social standing
He died in 1997 and is remembered as one of the most prominent Qawwali musicians ever, a pioneer in the world music scene and one of Real World Records’ most influential artists.