Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistan – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan En Concert Ã� Paris Vol 1

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of the greatest singers of the 20th century.

Believed by many to be one of the greatest singers of the 20th century, Nusrat sang Qawwali, the music of the Islamic Sufis. It's an art handed down from father to son (and had been in his family for hundreds of years), a way of enlightenment and praise. Think of the ecstasy in gospel when the spirit moves; Qawwali looks for the same passion, and Nusrat flies toward it here in the lengthy opener, "Hamd," as his throat opens and his improvisations take wing, building higher and higher to a breathtaking crescendo, while his "party" (a group of harmonium, percussion and backing singers) pushes him on. This superb live recording catches him at his best, his voice soaring and bold, turning one phrase inside out before leaping to another. The sense of joy, of being carried along, is almost palpable, the intensity level rising gradually during each song until it seems ready to explode. It's music of glory that transcends creed or faith.