Dust To Gold

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, 2000

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997)

The title 'Dust To Gold' reflects upon Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's philosophy of life, as he considered himself a pinch of dust from a holy place. Touched by genius, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was undoubtedly, spiritually and technically, one of the greatest voices of his day. He was a great bearer of the tradition - the most significant qawwal of his generation and at the same time a great innovator - a visionary who explored a new and daring contemporary musical language.

From unique archives in Nusrat's hometown of Lahore in Pakistan we have discovered some wonderful recordings which we are now proud to release. This is the first album of these archive recordings - a traditional qawwali session with the complete party.

A common factor in these qawwalis is that they are panegyrics (praise songs). The first qawwali KHAWAJA TUM HI HO is in praise of a Sufi saint whose shrine is in Ajmeer, Rajasthan; it is in Rajasthani Hindi (a sister language to Urdu) and is in the classical style where the singer takes on a female persona. The following three qawwalis are in Urdu and have simple verse structures: DATA TEIRA DURBAR praises a Sufi saint who lived in Lahore, KOI HAI NA HO GA and NOOR-E-KHUDA HAI HUSN-E-SARAPA RASOOL are in praise of the prophet Muhammad.


  • '...this is a hauntingly beautiful farewell.' The Oprah Magazine (USA)
  • This album is a beautiful testament ... Khan, who died in 1997, is probably best known for his work with Peter Gabriel (soundtrack to Last Temptation of Christ). This album is a beautiful testament to the man's work. Music Week (UK)
  • Greatest voice of all time, agreed? We will never know in what direction Nusrat's romance with the rock world would have taken him, but it's for his praise songs that he's most likely to be remembered. These four panegyrics - discovered in his own personal archive in Lahore - are the first fruits of what is sure to be a long-term archeological dig. None are more than 17 mintues long, which makes them a perfect step up for anyone who discovered Nusrat with his last album, the ambient, user-friendly Night Song. He doesn't hold back, however, whipping his band and himself into an impassioned tsunami offering tribute to the sufi saints and Mohammed. Greatest voice of all time, agreed? Mojo (UK)
  • ...a dizzying example of Khan at his best. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's work with such artists as Massive Attack and Michael Brook confirmed his reputation in the West, but no collaboration could match Pakistan's maestro singing in traditional qawwali style. Dust to Gold, a set of recordings discovered in an archive in Lahore provides a dizzying example of Khan at his best. Backed by harmonium, handclaps and tabla, he powers his way through four electrifying trakcs, notable for the earthiness of the response singing, sudden shifts of rhythm and the hypnotic sway of the final track, Noore Khuda Husne Spape Rasool. Rating: *** Q Magazine (UK)