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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Jill Ettinger

Day Of Colours
Real World

Devotional music offers many flavors, from Sanskrit chants to Christian rock, but nothing conveys sheer ecstatic emotion like the Sufi qawwali tradition. Whether it's the intensity of the singer, the endless harmonium drone or the steady tabla beat, the music offers up a magnetic ferocity. Brought into the spotlight by Pakistan's late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, qawwali's powerful surge of swirling vocals and hypnotic rhythms have made their way onto dancefloors worldwide, but nothing compares to live, nightlong performances in situ. Capturing the essence of these frenzied explosions, Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali's Day Of Colours converts ecstasy into epiphany. Beginning with "Light Of My Life," Muazzam Mujahid Ali Khan's vocals seduce throughout. The amplified chorus fills the recording with a heavy, echoing sound ("Sweet Flute," "Life And Soul") and with only one track less than 10 minutes there is plenty of opportunity for basking in the bliss of these fervent qawwali ambassadors.