Pakistan’s greatest music icon Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan left behind a legacy of qawwalis that are admired by people of all ages.
His fans can add one more album to their collection, a performance which marks Khan at his most traditional.
Low-quality videos of the 34-year-old recording are available online. But the sound on Live at WOMAD 1985 has been digitized and remixed to give you the right feels.
The set was recorded in 1985 at England’s WOMAD festival, which was co-founded by Peter Gabriel five years earlier to showcase international music and dance talent.
The performance was Khan’s first introduction to non-South Asian audiences. The first song in the set is Allah Ho, which is known on other recordings as Allah Hu or Allah Ho. It’s a song in praise of God and is a traditional way of opening a qawwali performance.
Haq Ali is a song in devotion to Hazarat Ali (RA) who is a figure admired by Sufis of both the Sunni and Shi’a sects.
The third song Shahbaaz Qalandar is a tribute to the 13th century Afghanistan-born Sufi master.
Biba Sada Dil Mor De is a contemporary love song which opens with the line “If you can’t remain in front of my eyes, please give me back my heart.”
Khan told Time magazine in 1993, after a concert that drew 14,000 people to New York’s Central Park, “My music is a bridge between people and God.”
After his milestone performance, the maestro went on to release a number of albums for Gabriel’s record label, Real World.
The album puts listeners in a blissful state, where each beat of the tabla and hand clap makes their hearts beat faster.