The term Qawwali in the present day remains alive due to the expansive legacy left behind by the King of Kings of Qawwalis (Shahenshah-e-Qawwali), Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Known as ‘The Voice of Heaven,’ musician and music director from Pakistan had the extraordinary ability to perform for several hours at high-level intensity. He was named the 4th greatest singer of all time by LA Weekly in 2016. The well-known world music artist also holds the Guinness World Record for the most recorded output by a Qawwali artist. Recognised in the world of music as one of the most powerful voices, it is Khan who introduced and panned the Sufi and qawwali genre across continents. He travelled extensively popularising Qawwali music and influencing contemporary South Asian popular music, in over 40 countries.
The depth in the legendary singer’s voice finds a special place in the heart and soul. They hit each note that is bound to give the listener goosebumps. The maestro’s mystical masterpieces are cherished two decades after his death by individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. The legend remains alive in his timeless compositions.
On the birth anniversary of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, we remember him with classics which define and carry his legacy ahead:
This composition from the Sangam album was first released in 1996. This track marked the first collaboration between Khan and renowned Indian lyricist Javed Akhtar. The love ballad was rendered again in 2016 by Khan’s nephew, singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Pakistani singer-songwriter Momina Mustehsan. ‘Afreen Afreen’ remains the Qawwal’s most popular compositions to date.
Mere Rashke Qamar:
The ghazal-qawwali was composed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the writing of Urdu poet Fana Buland Shehri. Khan performed this song for the first time with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in 1988.
The song was popularised in many concerts but Bollywood couldn’t resist recreating a version of this. It was used by composer Tanishk Bagchi with lyrics by Manoj Muntashir for Ajay Devgn’s 2017 movie Baadshaho.
Another gem from Khan’s vault of collections, this melancholic qawali is poetic and romantic. The song was rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and the video featured Huma Qureshi and Vidyut Jammwal. The popular song speaks of one-sided love and hurts with each note.
Sanu Ik Pal Chain Na Aave:
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan composed and sung this song in 1993. The beautiful melody was a part of the Mehfil-e-Sama concert Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Vol 28. The song has been revamped several times by many artists. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sung this song in Ajay Devgn’s film Raid. Pop artist Atif Aslam has also created a version of this classic.
Ye Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai:
By far Nusrat Sahab’s most sung kalaam. The soulful composition was performed by him at many concerts and for TV shows. Originally released in the year 1992, Khan has made this one magical with his beautifully textured vocals. The song was brought back to life in the Aishwarya Rai and Rajkumar Rao film Fanney Khan.
Dil galti kar betha hai:
You might have heard “Dil galti kar betha hai” a lot in 2020 on the internet. This masterpiece was created by none other than Nusrat Sahab himself. A lot of artists have created different versions, but none can be matched with the original one.
Sochta hoon was originally performed by Nusrat Khan in 1985, However, his nephew Rahat khan popularised the song many times, lastly, this song was featured in the Bollywood movie, “Batti Ghul meter chalu” voice by Atif Aslam.
Kiven mukhre ton nazran hatawan:
Another masterpiece by Nusrat Khan, it’s a beautiful love song, the meaning of the title is kiven mukhre ton nazran hatawan meaning “How can I take off my eyes from your luminous face?” Ke Tere Kol Rab disda meaning “Because I see my Creator through you.” Indeed a lovely song.
Nit Khair manga:
Nit Khair manga, a brilliant piece by Nusrat Khan, simple melodies in his soulful voice made the qawaali even more breathtaking. The song was featured in the movie raid, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Sanware tore bin:
Khan Sahab was the one who could make us feel heaven, this song is one of the most difficult chords yet another gem. Such a piece of deep invading music.
There is no replacement for this legendary track. Lyrics and music both are unimpeachable. The remake of this song was featured in the movie Simba’s voice by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Tanishk Bagchi, Asses Kaur.
Tumhe Dillagi bhul jani padegi:
The god of Qawwalis at his best, perfect mixture of music, timeless tune, feelings, deep meaning. This song is no less than a song that defines the entire generation.
Doston ki shikayat:
The voice from heaven remains forever and ever.
Mera Piya Ghar Aaya:
This song was originally by Khan Sahab, a beautiful version was composed by fareez Ayaz and other singers in Coke studio season 11.
“Music of love doesn’t know the boundaries”, Indeed. When it comes to Khan Sahab, everything is just alright. This beautiful song can bring tears to the eyes. Though a lot of singers recreated this qawwali, Khan Sahab again is unmatchable.
Aankh uthi Mohabbat ne:
Undoubtedly, he is called as ustad, this qawwali fills your soul. Beautifully played on the harmonium.
Aap baithe hain Balin pe meri:
Kya sambhaloge tum mere dil ko, Jab yeh aanchal sambhalta nahi hai.
Haq Ali Ali:
One of the best heart touching qawwali. We will lose in the different zone while vibrating on this one.
Sanson ki mala pe:
His voice will take you to heaven and back, words are not enough to describe his magical voice.
Mohe Apne hi rang me:
Mind refreshing, no doubt about it.
Kinna sona tenu rab ne banaya:
We have only a few words for Khan Sahab, Kinna sona tenu Rab ne banaya.