Remembering the Big Man: Rahat Ali Khan and Michael Brooks

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is in fine form here. Michael Brook, not so much so, but still a good album.

Harmonium

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An interesting album with some truly moving and exhilarating performances. As I mentioned in my most recent article for Scroll.in it was through a remix of one of Nusrat’s qawwalis (Dam Qalandar Mast) in the early 1990s that qawwali went mainstream. Or at least as mainstream as any non-European spiritual music is ever going to go!

Canadian guitarist Michael Brook, though uncredited on Mustt Mustt, played a huge role in creating the sound and ensuring the massive impact of that album on the earholes of millions of new fans. He later went on to produce (and get credited for) Night Songs another hugely popular qawwali-fusion album in 1996.

In this instance, a performance in honour of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the combination of qawwali and western music just doesn’t click like in the earlier works. The drums especially are irritating, adding little more than an annoying rumble in the…

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