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Sufi devotional music of the highest order
There are few types of music that can lift you to a higher plane, to get you close to an out-of-body moment than qawwali. Some skin-pricking mid-60s soul balladry, possibly. Or some heavy, heavy roots-reggae from the late '70s. But that's about it. Qawwali's appeal is in those effortless, undulating voices, that spiralling harmonium, those bubbling tabla drums. And it's music that never lost an ounce of its potency after its most famous practitioner, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, departed the planet back in 1997. No-one has filled his place during the intervening 16 years; no-one may ever do so. But one of Nusrat's protégés - Asif Ali Khan - continues to have a good go. While his performances often pay tribute to his mentor, Asif is also his own man whose recordings and live shows reveal a deep level of invention and instinct. Not that he takes the credit. "We aren't singing as much as listening to God's instructions with our souls."
(Biography written by Nige Tassell 2013)