Body and Soul

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, 2001

Sufism, Islamic mysticism, is in essence a message of love. The metaphor of love, lover and the beloved was developed so intensely by Sufism that its metaphoric significance was and is sometimes mistaken for wanton sexuality.

Key to sufism is the concept of disciple and master, the master being belover. However, it is important to note that the beloved is an embodiment of a spirtitual beloved entirely beyond physical form.


Of all the Sufi orders that played a part in ppularising the message of love in the Indian sub-continent, the most significant was the Chisti order which had its origins in the village of Chist in North Eastern Iran.

At the end of the 12th century Moinuddin Hasan Chisti established the order in India. His Tomb in Ajmeer, today in India, is a famous centre of pilgrimage for muslims, Hindu, Sikhs and Christians. Moinuddin's disciple was Outbuddin Bakhtiyar, who in turn was the master of farid Uddin Masud, known as Baba Farid Ganj-I-Shakar. Through his many disciples Baba Farid was responsible for the spread of the order of different parts of India.


A central motif in Sufi songs is the image of the seperated beloved. Of the four songs on this rcording only one is a devotional praise song. Mayey Nee Main Dhak Farid Dey Jana (Mother, I have to go to Farid), dedicated to Baba Farid; the others take the form of love songs. Usually evening is the time for lovers' trysts. It is not uncommon practise that the writer of a song sgns it by mentioning his own name in a lyric. OFten the singer takes on the persona of a young woman who yearns to be united with her male beloved.

Undoubtedly in recent times Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through his music was the most significant bearer of the Sufi message of love.

Reviews

  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan : Body And Soul Real World : CDRW99 - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan produced a body of work that raised the profile of Sufiism and Qawwali songs to new heights of artistry and vocal dexterity. Live he was an awesome sight. There is no greater demonstration of the message of peace and love in Islam than to discover the spirituality inherent in Ali Khan's work. Piccadilly Records (UK)
  • ...the final product is as impeccably produced as everything Real World releases. Khan's incredible voice is in fine form, and the ensemble of backing singers, harmonium, and tabla are excellent. Dirty Linen (US)
  • 'Body and Soul delivers the straight shot of qawwali ecstasy that brought Pakistan's Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan international-rock-star celebrity...its release is well timed to remind us about the loving, ecstatic face of a religion badly in need of better PR.' Boston Phoenix (US)
  • ...when his voice flies, it truly takes wing... ...and his soaring greatness is apparent on his brief improvisations...check "My Love Has Become A Stranger," about as close to Western pop as the master ever came. CMJ New Music Report (USA)
  • ......it is joyful, poetic, sensual, very rhythmic... ...sometimes outright rowdy, and very danceable. It is a reminder to us the God/Goddess/All There Is is about joy, abundance, and magnificence. Listen and let your heart be light! Sign Of The Times Aquarius (USA)
  • 'The music conveys the same joyous embrace of life in all its godly and earthly dimensions. On one hand, this is simply another entry in Khan's huge catalogue of fabulous recordings. But its release is well timed to remind us about the loving, ecstatic face of a religion badly in need of better PR.' Portland Phoenix (USA)
  • '...the instrumentalists lock into hypnotic grooves as deftly as any funk band.' Daytona Beach News Journal (USA)
  • The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan continues to release more CDs than Elvis. The Beat (USA)
  • 'This is the great Sufi devotional singer at his best, a set of completely traditional qawwali performances recorded on home ground in Pakistan...Apparently a great deal of audio restoration was necessary before the tapes were up to scratch, but the results are excellent: warm and listenable, with the drums nice and clear underneath...The high pitched melismata and endlessly inventive ornamentation tumble forth in a manner European music hasn't heard for many a century.' Wire (Uk)