FAISALABAD: Fifteen years ago, legendary qawwali maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan breathed his last, leaving behind fans wanting more of his soul-touching music.
Born on October 13, 1948, Fateh died in London of liver and kidney diseases at the age of 49 in 1997.
His death anniversary was observed in his hometown Faisalabad, with a special condolence reference held at a local hotel. A large number of people including social, religious and political personalities also visited his grave in the city’s main graveyard.
Fond of qawwali since early days, Fateh was initially discouraged by his family to take up this profession as his father Ustad Fateh Ali Khan thought the occupation doesn’t garner proper respect and status in the Pakistani society.
Fateh started his musical training with learning tabla. He then got himself trained for Raag Vidya and Bolbandish. However his musical learning was disrupted due to his father’s death. His uncles, Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan then trained him for qawwali.
Fateh’s first performance was at his father’s chehlum.
His first major hit in Pakistan was the song Haq Ali Ali, which was performed in a traditional style with traditional instrumentation. From then on, the legend made his indelible mark on the musical scene of the country and then his artistic influence made way to the western world.
Fateh toured the UK for concerts under the sponsorship of the Oriental Star Agencies (OSA). He further gained popularity in the West through his contributions to the soundtracks of “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Natural Born Killers.”
He sang for and performed in a number of Pakistani films. Shortly before his death, he also recorded songs for two Bollywood films.