World-renowned Pakistani musician Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s 14th death anniversary was observed with a Quran Khawani in his native Faisalabad, reported the Daily Express. Various events — to be attended by personalities from different fields of art — were also scheduled to be held in Britain, as well as his hometown.
The soultouching singer was an icon whose music resonates in qawwali evenings and in any discussion about Pakistani music. Even after so many years of his passing, his music continues to inspire audiences around the world.
Born in Faisalabad on October 13, 1948, he was Ustad Fateh Ali Khan’s fifth child. With qawwali ingrained in the family — a 600-year-old tradition — there was little surprise that Khan also mastered the skill. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Khan holds the world record for the largest recorded output by a qawwali artist.
Mostly singing in Punjabi and Urdu, Khan also sang in Hindi, Braj Bhasha — a dialect of Hindi — and Persian. One of his best performances was “Haq Ali Ali” which infused folk style and traditional instruments. According to nusrat.org, the versatile musician not only sang for Pakistani films but also contributed to Bollywood in the films Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya and Kachche Dhaage as well as the title song for the film Dhadkan.
Reaching great heights of success, his artistic influence made its way to the western world. He reached out to western audiences through his work with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ in 1985. His work has also featured in the song “The Long Road” — a track in last year’s film Eat Pray Love.
Having been ill with kidney and liver failure, Khan passed away on August 16, 1997 in London at the age of 48.
Some of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s top hits
“Sun Charkhe Di Mithi Mithi Ghook”
“Tere Bin Nahin Lagda Dil Mera Dholna”
“Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai”
“Mae Ni Mae Mere Geetan”
“Haq Ali Ali”
“Akhiyan Udeek Diyan”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.