Music lovers across the world are observing the 19th death anniversary of Shahenshah-e-Qawwali (King of Kings of Qawwali), Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan today.
Nusrat was born on October 13, 1948 in Faisalabad.
The legendary singer had his first public performance at the age of 16, at his father’s chehlum [40 days after his death]. He chose the Islamic devotional style – Qawwali – as the predominant genre he sang in.
He was 48 years old when he passed away in 1997, having established himself as one of the world’s most outstanding vocalists.
In 1987, the government of Pakistan bestowed the Pride of Performance award on the legendary singer for his contribution to Pakistani music.
Two years before his death, he was honoured with the prestigious UNESCO Music Prize. He received a number of national and international honourary awards in his glorious career.
Nusrat’s songs still remain alive among his fans, belonging to all age groups and social backgrounds. His nephew, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, rose to fame after Nusrat passed away, but the void could never be filled.
The musical maestro is acknowledged as the artiste who defined the art-form of Qawwali for the generations to come.
He toured extensively, performing in over 40 countries including India, Japan, and the United States. He became one of the first Pakistani musicians to have collaborated on several songs with Western musicians including the renowned Peter Gabriel and lead singer of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder.
Most of his songs, including “Haq Ali,” (his first song) continue to be re-sung countless times by artists, including Rahat, though his style remains unmatched and unparalleled.
Nusrat holds the Guinness World Record for producing the largest recorded output by a Qawwali artist — a total of 125 albums as of 2001.
Though a follower of Sufism himself, Nusrat’s music transcends all differences to unite music lovers with his enchanting melodies.