Historic Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan live recording set for July release

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Real World Records, and to celebrate the label has announced the release of a new live album by one of their most important artists, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Live at WOMAD 1985 will be released on 26 July alongside the long-awaited vinyl re-issue of his final album for the label, the Grammy-nominated collaboration with Canadian guitarist/producer Michael Brook, Night Song.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s performance at WOMAD Festival in 1985 was the first time the legendary Qawwali singer had performed in front of a mainly non-Asian audience, and marked the beginning of his relationship with Real World Records and Peter Gabriel.

The recording of this landmark concert, unheard for 34 years, has been carefully restored from the original analogue tapes. The power and beauty of Nusrat’s voice comes rushing back through the years and lifts us up to the ecstatic heights of Sufi expression.

Three of the finest songs from the concert have been selected for this release (with a fourth available as a download), including a full-length 21-minute version of the iconic song ‘Allah Ho Allah Ho’. In this raw and visceral live recording, the songs extend and grow in a way that rarely happens in the studio.

This is a remarkable record of a magical event that changed the perception of Sufi music to a wider audience and set Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on a path to the international recognition of his genius.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party at WOMAD Festival on Mersea Island, July 1985. Photo credit: Andrew Catlin
“Perhaps the most extraordinary experience came late on Saturday night, when the Sufi group led by one of Pakistan’s greatest (in every sense) singers, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, began a performance that lasted into early morning. Hand pumped harmoniums provided basic riffs with a surprisingly rocky back-beat, tablas and mantric hand-clapping gave the cross-rhythms, and the four wonderful voices of the front line made the inspired improvisations that a sitarist may make with strings. A sort of acapella Persian jazz that moved many of the audience to tears of joy. Breath-taking and one of the most wonderful sounds I’ve heard in my life.” David Ambrose, fRoots

Paired with this, the first recording of Khan’s music for Real World Records, his final album Night Song will be issued on vinyl for the first time. Originally released in 1996, the album was Nusrat’s second collaboration with the Canadian producer Michael Brook, following the success of Mustt Mustt in 1990.

The album was is fusion of Western and Asian musical influences, and upon its release Billboard called it “an album for the ages, solidifying Khan’s stature as one of the world’s pre-eminent singers”. Time Out declared it “the Best World Music Album In The World… Ever!” and MOJO listed it in their Top 40 albums of 1996. The following year, the album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.

“Nusrat was one of the greatest singers of our time. When his singing takes off, his voice embodies soulfulness and spirituality like no other.” Peter Gabriel
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook. Photo credit: Stephen Lovell-Davis

Also released on 26 July is a new compilation album, Worldwide: 30 Years of Real World Music. Celebrating three decades of discovery and enlightenment, this window into Real World music traces a path from Tanzania to China, Ireland to Tibet, Colombia to Papua New Guinea. The label has chosen tracks that opened our minds and hearts to sounds from all around our planet— an enriching and joyous experience.

Launched in 1989, Real World Records has grown into a label of wide-ranging, world-class music from all corners of the globe. There’s an enormous variety of styles, moods and genres within the music catalogue that bears the famous colour bar logo, but they all have these things in common— the quality of the recording, the superb production and music of great passion.

When we look back now over our catalogue we realise how lucky we were to be working with so many of the world’s great artists.Peter Gabriel

Many of the label’s releases are recorded at Real World Studios where the live interactive spaces provide an environment capable of capturing the excitement and vitality of musicians in performance.

“Whatever the music, whatever the technology, great records come from great performances.” Peter Gabriel

Live at WOMAD 1985 (CD/Vinyl/Digital), Night Song (Vinyl) and Worldwide (CD) will be released on 26 July. Live at WOMAD 1985 and Night Song are available to pre-order together at a discounted rate, and our entire Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan vinyl range is available in a bundle offer via the Real World Store.

Pre-order Live at WOMAD 1985

Pre-order Night Song on vinyl

  • Live at WOMAD 1985

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Released 26 July 2019

    A remarkable record of a magical event that changed the perception of Sufi music to a wider audience and set Nusrat on a path to international recognition of his genius. The power and beauty of Nusrat’s voice comes rushing back through the years and lifts us up to the ecstatic heights of Sufi expression.
  • 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.
  • Worldwide

    Various Artists

    Released 26 July 2019

    Celebrating 30 years of discovery and enlightenment, this window into Real World music traces a path from Tanzania to China, Ireland to Tibet, Colombia to Papua New Guinea. We have chosen tracks that opened our minds and hearts to sounds from all around our planet— an enriching and joyous experience.

By Online Editor

Main image: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party performing at WOMAD Festival on Mersea Island in 1985. Photo credit: Jak Kilby

Published on Wed, 05 June 19

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