Published On: Tue, Oct 13th, 2015



Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The King of Kings of Qawwali was born on October 13, 1948 in Faisalabad, Pakistan, pertaining to a family of qawwals whose ancestry went back six centuries. This was extending the 600-year old Qawwali tradition of his family. Qawwali is a devotional music of the Sufis and he obsessed an extraordinary range of vocal abilities and capable to perform at a high level of intensity for several hours.

The legend Qawwal’s first public performance was at the age of 16, at his father’s chelum. His father died in 1964 and ten days later he dreamt that his father came to him and asked him to sing. He said that I could not, but he told him to try. In the dream his father touched his throat, then he started to sing, and then he woke up singing. He had dreamed that his first live performance would be at his father’s funeral ceremony, where they would all sit together again and read prayers from the Koran and so on. On the fortieth day after his death, they held the ceremony, and he performed for the very first time. His first public performance with his stunning voice as the leader of the Qawwali party was at a studio recording broadcast as part of an annual music festival organized by Radio Pakistan, known as Jashn-e-Baharan. Then he embarked on singing career with Qawwali followed by ever-increasing line of music including sufi, and hymns.

The pride of Pakistan and the magical voice of the sub-continent sang many songs. His first major hit was the song Haq Ali Ali while he also did joint ventures with well-known international singers. Some of his most famous Qawwalis are Tmhen Dill lagi, Kithy Ishq da rog na, Haq Ali Ali Mola and songs include Kinna Sohan Tainu, Piya Re Piya Re, Gham Hai Ya Khushi, Mera Piya Ghar Aaya, Dum Mast Kalandar, Afreen Afreen and many others.

In 1987, Khan received the President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance for his contribution to Pakistani music. In 1995 he received the UNESCO Music Prize. The legendry voice was bestowed with many awards and titles during his 25-year music career. He was given the title of Ustad after performing classical music at a function in Lahore on his father’s death anniversary. He is considered as one of the greatest voices ever recorded. His songs are still alive among his fans and also youngsters, and have defined the art-form of Qawwali for the generations to come. Th ere will never be another Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.