Thursday, April 24, 2014

Punjabi Vacation: Qawwali World

Another day, another seminal and powerful musical icon... here comes an anniversary special celebrating its 24th birthday today, courtesy of the immortal Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
This one was taped from the mixing desk during a tour of Japan in 1990, and on it you will hear one of the most distinctive voices of our lifetimes. He is probably the foremost Qawwali exponent and the most revered practitioner of that particular strain of Sufi devotional music ever born. He passed away in 1997 but his music will be around forever plus one day. I talk about him -- "is" -- in the present tense, even though he's dead many years.... such is the lasting power of his impact.
He isn't so much a singer as a shaman. If by some strange omission you've never heard him or heard of him, the only way I can think to describe what he does is that he conjures a kind of ecstasy with his voice and through the power of the accompanists behind him, supplying an onslaught of tabla and percussion that at its peak resembles a herd of stampeding elephants. 
I've always been that card-carrying atheist who adored gospel and religious music of all faiths, and who thought religious devotion, as an alleged gateway to the Celestial Divine and the highest vibrations, should only be expressed in song... no talking, just singing and playing. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan proves this power, because I don't speak a word of the Urdu or Punjabi or Persian in which these love songs to God are sung, but somehow I feel like I totally get what he's singing about.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan * Quaw'wal and Party
You-Port Kan-I Hoken Hall
Gotanda, Tokyo, Japan

01 Allah Hoo
02 Shams Ul Doha - Badr Ul Duja
03 Haqq Ali Ali
04 Allah, Mohammad, Char Yaar
05 Nami-Danam
06 Dhamadham Mast Qalander

Total time: 1:37:25

disc break can go after track 03
soundboard master cassette, fan remastered
Just go ahead and hit the button if you're uninitiated... if you know Nusrat, you've probably already hit the link. Either way do enjoy this transcendent show, recorded this day in 1990, and I'll be back on the 26th with a li'l treat for my friends in the chatbox immediately above and to the right of this text field (stay tuned Pino!!!!). --J.

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