Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a Pakistani Qawwali singer, musician, vocalist, composer, and music director, primarily in Qawwali – which is a form of Sufi devotional song. He is considered amongst the greatest Sufi singer in the Punjabi ad Urdu language, along with that he is considered to be “The Best Qawwali Singer Ever”. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan specialized in singing in high intensity for several hours straight. He belonged to the Qawwal Bachon Gharana (Delhi Gharana), extending the 600-year-old qawwali tradition of his family. He is also considered as the artist who introduced qawwali music to international audiences.  

Born on the 16th of October 1948 in a Muslim family in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan, his ancestor learned music and singing there and adopted it as their profession. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was the first son of Fateh Ali Khan, the tradition of qawwali has been passed down to generation after generation for over 600 years in his family.

As a child, even though his father wished for him to follow a much more respectable career path of a doctor or an engineer according to him, a young Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan showed such aptitude and interest for qawwali that he relented. After the death of his uncle, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan started as the official leader of his family’s qawwali party. His first official recording as the leader of the qawwali party was at the Pakistan radio for the broadcast of their annual music fest “Jashan-E-Baharan”.

Even though Khan mainly performed in Urdu and Punjabi he could also sing in Persian, Braj Bhasa, and Hindi. His first hit was the “Haq Ali Ali” song performed in a traditional manner and instrumentation. 

Later on in his career, Khan went on to perform at the World of Music, Arts, And Dance music festival in London in 1985. Then he went on to perform in Paris in 1985 and followed the same in 1988. Khan toured internationally and went to perform in Japan in 1987 right before Paris at the Japan invitation at the 5th Asian Traditional Performing Art Festival. Following his Paris performance, he went and performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, garnering a strong admiration from his American audiences.  

He also shared a deep understanding with South Asian legendary singers like Alam Lohar, Noor Jehan, and Indian legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, and A.R Rahman.  

In 1988, Khan teamed up with composer Peter Gabriel on the song “The Last Temptation Of Christ” which led to Peter signing him in his Real World Label. With this Lael Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan released five qawwali albums along with more experimental songs like Must Must, Star Rise, and Night Song. He also collaborated with several rock musicians and western composers. One of the most notable collaborations included his team up with Pearl Jam’s lead singer Eddie Vedder on two songs for the soundtracks of Dead Man Walking.  

He was working on another collaboration but couldn’t finish it due to his demise. 

He also collaborated with Indian artists during this time and came up with songs like Koi Jaane Koi Na Jaane and Zindagi Jhoom Kar. One of the popular songs he sang was “Dulhe Ka Sehra” from the Bollywood movie Dhadkan. 

After Khan’s demise, his legacy is now being carried on by his nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Rizwan Muazzam. 

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is considered to be the most important qawwal in history. In 1987 he received the President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance for his contribution to Pakistani music. In 1995, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan received the UNESCO Music Prize followed by the Grand Prix des Amériques at the Montreal World Film Festival for his exceptional contribution to the art of cinema. In 1997 he was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Folk Album and Best World Music Album. He also holds the Guinness world book record for most qawwali recordings, having been recorded over 125 qawwali albums before his death. He posthumously received the “Legends” award at the UK Asian Music Awards along with many other awards, honorary titles, and accolades. 

On the occasion of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s birthday, Saregama celebrates his life and contribution to Qawwali music. 

Enjoy the top Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s mp3 songs and HD version songs on

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