Remembering Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Today, 16 August 2017, marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, also known as Shahen-Shah-e-Qawwali, 'The Brightest Star in Qawwali'.

Qawwali music is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia with a tradition which stretches back for hundreds of years. Nusrat was responsible for bringing Qawwali music from Pakistan to the Western world and his collaborations on Real World Records with Michael Brook – 1990’s Mustt Mustt and 1996’s Night Song – are regarded as modern classics.

There are a total of nine records by Nusrat on Real World Records, including two posthumous releases following his premature death in 1997.

Nusrat’s voice and music continue to enrapture and entertain audiences worldwide and his legacy lives on, inspiring artists from all different creative backgrounds. Undoubtedly in recent times Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through his music was the most significant bearer of the Sufi message of love.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: 13 October 1948 – 16 August 1997.

  • Mustt Mustt

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook

    Released 12 November 1990

    The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is today acknowledged as the great master of Qawwali who popularised this beautiful and inspirational music beyond Muslim peoples to a worldwide audience. Mustt Mustt is the first of two albums on which the singer collaborates with Canadian producer Michael Brook to place the music in a contemporary setting.
  • Love & Devotion

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 09 November 1992

    Love & Devotion brings together two of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s finest recordings, 1992’s Love Songs and Devotional Songs. They are perfect companion pieces, snapshots of a musical giant at the very height of his considerable powers, whilst the artistry of his accompanying Party is also faultless.
  • Love Songs

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 09 November 1992

    The ecstatic voice of mystic Islam with beautiful new arrangements of six classic love songs.
  • Shahen Shah

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 05 June 1989

    The emotional intensity and soaring power of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice transcends all boundaries of language and religion, and has popularised Sufi music beyond Muslim peoples to audiences worldwide. Amongst Real World Records’ most emblematic artists, Nusrat was known as Shahen-Shah-e-Qawwali: The Brightest Shining Star in Qawwali.
  • Shahbaaz

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 28 May 1991

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan again displays his musical inventiveness blending the popular Qawwali (devotional Sufi) form with elements of the highly classical vocal tradition known as khyal (Persian for imagination), a style once enjoyed only by the elite. This musical fusion draws on a range of lyrical material, appealing to Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and even atheists.
  • Night Song

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook

    Released 01 March 1996

    The potent relationship between Qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Canadian rock musician Michael Brook reached compelling emotional heights on this Grammy nominated sequel to Mustt Mustt. Once again the partnership tests the emotional boundaries of the human voice. It wasn't made in Detroit or Memphis, but this truly is soul music.
  • Dust to Gold

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 19 June 2000

    This posthumous release by the legendary Pakistani singer has been culled from unique archives discovered in Nusrat's hometown of Lahore. It is a traditional qawwali session of panegyrics (praise songs) in which Nusrat is accompanied by the complete party.
  • Body and Soul

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 15 October 2001

    A selection of traditional Qawwali songs from one of the greatest Islamic singers of modern times. Recorded in Nusrat’s hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, retrieved from the archives and mixed at Real World, this is a document of pure poetical beauty. It follows Dust To Gold, released to celebrate the legacy left since Nusrat’s death.
  • The Last Prophet

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 01 March 1994

    From Qawwali music’s greatest star, The Last Prophet delivers mystic messages which transcend cultural boundaries through mesmeric musical performances. Even without an understanding of Persian poetry or the Urdu or Punjabi language, Nusrat’s powers of communication break through to an international audience.
  • Devotional Songs

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 09 November 1992

    The ecstatic voice of mystic Islam with beautiful new arrangements of six classic devotional songs.

By Online Editor

Published on Wed, 16 August 17

Further reading

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at WOMAD 1985: Were you there?

Nusrat's concert at the festival in 1985 was the first in front of a primarily non-Asian audience

9Bach acoustic EP ‘Noeth’ out today

Welsh band 9Bach's acoustic EP Noeth is available digitally today.

Riding a wave of emotion: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at WOMAD 1985

David Hutcheon explores the significance of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's iconic show at WOMAD in 1985.

16 August: A day to remember music royalty

Aretha Franklin, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Robert Johnson and Elvis Presley share the same anniversary...