Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his musical greatness
Updated: Oct 23
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a big name in the world of music, is undoubtedly known for his massive contribution to the musical arena, specifically in the genre of Qawwali, which rose to prominence on the International stage. ‘The king of Qawwali’ has not only garnered fame through his songs, but he has several awards and accolades named to him. Irrespective of his huge contribution, he has often been questioned in relation to his voice. His voice has received some criticism from certain sections of people, claiming his voice not to be that great. Commenting on this would be a bit tricky since every individual has his or her set of perceptions through which they observe and analyze things around them.
There can rather be many possibilities for not liking or appreciating his voice. Some section of people may not prefer the genre in which his songs have been mostly sung in. They may not be well acquainted with the quality of songs sung under the genre, and hence end up judging the singer. Some may prefer a softer tone, which Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan did not possess. He had a tough and harsh voice and could take high notes more proficiently and go on for singing at stretches for hours. The complexity in his voice may not be properly deciphered by them, for which they might not be fond of his voice. The style and texture of his voice seemed very different and unusual, which is unique and yet distanced from other sets of singers. This could also be the reason for which certain people could not connect to his voice, for they are more attached to the common pattern and style of voice, as prevalent in other singers.
Irrespective of the tonal and voice quality of Khan, some find it different, nothing stopped him from achieving his share of name and fame, garnered on him. The crucial reason behind this could be his lead in introducing Qawwali to the international stage and audience. Once he transported the genre from a limited circle to the vast arena, there was no turning back. He went on to perform in several countries around the world, which expanded his range and popularity across nations. And for the international public, who were exposed to a newer genre, found it different and interesting to follow. Qawwali as a genre, whose prosperity was at a halt, when fell into Khan’s range, was witnessing a revival. No wonder the title "Shahenshah-e-Qawwali" suits him aptly.
Moreover, his popularity not only rests on his achievements and recognitions in the form of awards and accolades. He was considered a Guru to many, for the singers who sought training under him or inspired by him fairly. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, another renowned singer, is one such who was trained under Nusrat Fateh Ali khan. If he hadn’t had a fairly good voice, he could not have produced a singer like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, whose contribution is no less.
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