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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Jill Ettinger
Published September 27, 2005

The Ultimate Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Volume 1
Narada Records

Between 1978 and 1982 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was still a few years away from international recognition as King of Qawwali (devotional Sufi prayers set to music).  Khan, young but far from inexperienced, made some of his most powerful recordings during that time period. In a posthumous release of these early performances, Narada scores enormously with this stellar two-disc collection of the young master. Simply breathtaking, The Ultimate Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Volume 1 is a humble reminder that few singers transcended the limits of language or penetrated to the core of common human essence like Khan. “Yeh Jo Halka Halka” is unbelievably tender and an irresistible opener leading into a 28-plus-minute version of “Haq Ali Moula Ali Ali.” Epitomizing the art of Qawwali singing, these rare recordings drift expressively with Khan’s flowing vocals. Seven tracks in total make up the first of these unreleased volumes, promising the bliss of more to come.