NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan  October 13, 1948 to August 16, 1997) was primarily a singer of qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis, a mystical offshoot of Islam. Nusrat was the son of Fateh Ali Khan, one of the foremost qawwals of his generation in Pakistan. Traditionally, qawwali has been a family business. Nusrat’s family has an unbroken tradition of performing qawwali for the last 600 years.


Initially, his father did not want Nusrat to follow him into the qawwali business. He had his heart set on Nusrat choosing a much more respectable career path, and becoming a doctor. However, Nusrat showed such an aptitude for, and interest in, qawwali that his father finally relented and started to train him in the art of qawwali. This training was still incomplete when Fateh Ali Khan died, and the training was continued by Nusrat’s uncle, Mubarak Ali Khan.


Nusrat’s first public performance as leader of the family qawwali group was in March 1965, at a studio recording broadcast as part of an annual music festival called Jashn-e-Baharan organized by Radio Pakistan. It took Nusrat several years more to perfect his craft, and emerge from the shadow of the groups that were regarded as the leading contemporary qawwals. But once he did, there was no looking back. He firmly established himself as the leading qawwal of the 20th century. His powerful voice and his complete mastery of the genre made him a superstar in the Islamic world, especially in Pakistan and India.


He was also one of the first South Asian singers to perform before large Western audiences.


In Pakistan, his first major hit was the song Haq Ali Ali (listen here). This was performed in a traditional style and with traditional instrumentation, and featured only sparse use of Nusrat’s innovative sargam improvisations. Nevertheless the song became a major hit, as many listeners were attracted to the timbre and other qualities of Nusrat’s voice.