Today marks the 16th death anniversary of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Khan brought to the world audience Qawwali, a form of music performed at the shrines of the Sufis of South Asia for centuries. Qawwali has a system of progression of its own when it is performed with an intricate link to rituals which help transform the experience of listeners.
The San Francisco label Six Degrees, that released the Qawwali legend’s dub-laced collaboration with London producer-composer Gaudi in 2007, says of the legend,
Dubbed by many as the “Elvis of the East” and the “Bob Marley of Pakistan” these titles are not without foundation. Some have claimed he has sold more albums than Elvis, and he has reached as many hearts and souls and crossed as many cultural and spiritual boarders as Bob Marley with his unique mix of poetic eastern spiritual and western musical themes.
Khan was one of the rare performers of an ancient musical tradition refined with delicate elements of generations of Qawwals through centuries. Taking the universality of its devotional appeal, he fused it into a style that was flexible enough to be adopted by an international audience.
He teamed with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ in 1985, and with Canadian musician Michael Brook on the albums 'Mustt Mustt' (1990) and 'Night Song' (1996) and with Pearl Jam lead singer, Eddie Vedder in 1995 on two songs for the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking.
Peter Gabriel said at the time of Nusrat’s passing:
I have never heard so much spirit in a voice. Nusrat was a supreme example of how far and deep a voice can go in finding, touching and moving the soul.
Khan also contributed to the soundtrack of 'Natural Born Killers'.