Previously unreleased tapes. Four tracks from the show have been selected. Also available on CD.
Nusrat Ftaeh Ali Khan, the incomparable Pakistani musician and Qawwali singer (Qawwalii is a devotional music for the Sufis), astounded the audience at WOMAD Festival in 1985 and now we get to relive a moment in time, a live performance hidden for 34 years ‘Live At WOMAD 1985’. This a remarkable record of a magical event that changed the perception of Sufi music to a wider audience and set Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on a path to the international recognition of his genius. Four of the finest songs from this concert have been selected for this release. This is a live recording - raw and visceral. The songs extend and grow in a way that rarely happens in studio recordings. It includes a full length 21-minute version of the iconic song ‘Allah Ho Allah Ho’.
What most distinguishes Nusrat are the vocal abilities he has - he has the ability to perform high and intense vocals for many hours. Looking back, it’s impossible to over-estimate the significance of this moment of musical history. On the remote flat lands of Mersea Island in Essex in July 1985 an eclectic programme of music was unfolding at the WOMAD Festival. New Order appeared on the same bill as Tabu Ley Le Rochereau, The Fall and Penguin Café Orchestra -it was a remarkable line up.
At midnight on Saturday night July 20 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party took to the stage. The group sit cross-legged in two rows and for some minutes there is a silent pause. What unfolded over the following hours stunned the audience. And it impressed upon Nusrat his remarkable skill at communicating with audiences from a different culture and language and with no understanding of the deep and ancient traditions of qawwali music. Singing to a non-Asian audience for the first time this music transcended barriers and lead to long and successful relationship with WOMAD and Real Word Records and Peter Gabriel, until Nusrat’s death in 1997.
Until now this remarkable concert has been locked in archives, unheard for 34 years. The original analogue tapes have now been carefully restored and digitised. Much work has taken place at Real World Studios to regenerate the live experience, which will now be released on this, the 30th Anniversary of Real World Records.
The power and beauty of Nusrat’s voice comes rushing back through the years and lifts us up to the ecstatic heights of Sufi expression. From the backing of rolling harmonium and chattering tabla the melody gradually evolves - slowly at first and then with building intensity. The hypnotic, improvised cycles of call and response between the singers reach fever pitch. Nusrat’s rich and soulful voice has never been surpassed in the world of Qawwali music.
Original photographs taken of the concert that night at WOMAD have been sourced and seen for the first time.
Many of his works were produced and were met with large success. Nustar Fateh Ali Khan collaborated with many international artists and production companies. Khan entered the Guiness book as the artist with the largest number of musical productions of Qawwali music: he produced more than 125 albums since 2001. He had many titles and awards like the UNESCO Music Prize in 1995, Grand Prix des Amériques at Montreal World Film Festival in 1996, the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 1996, the "Legends" award at the UK Asian Music Awards in 2005. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is inscribed within the international repertoire of iconic artists of all time.