Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Greatest Hits Of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Greatest Hits Of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat takes qawwali music to the skies

You don't get many Nusrat songs to the pound, and it's debatable whether the four here are really "greatest hits." But they do illustrate the sublime artistry of the Pakistani man who was one of the world's greatest singers — a huge talent (in several ways) who took Sufi devotional qawwali singing to a global level. The genius was in his improvisations, the way he would take a phrase and explore it, building on it until it exploded to the skies. The long cuts here — two weigh in at almost 25 minutes each — offer the chance for him to do just that. Backed by his "party" of harmonium, tabla and singers ("Mangte Haim Karam" expands the instruments), he uses the poetry as a launching pad, much as a jazz musician would use a theme. It's deeply spiritual, and to listen deeply to the way he inhabits and lifts a song can be a transcendent experience. Beautiful, often breathtaking, these are pieces that pierce to the core of music — and humanity.