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Qawwali, the mystical music of Indian and Pakistani Sufism, is rooted in song forms that are over 700 years old. Qawwali songs are devotional songs that extol Islamic virtues and shower praise upon Allah. Qawwali is intended to affect heightened spirituality through ritualized listening known as Sama. The transcendent nature of the poetic lyrics, in combination with a vivacious musical base and the participatory act of Sama, stirs ecstatic feelings of mystical adoration among both performers and audience members alike. Undoubtedly the most popular qawwali singer of all time was the Pakistani-born Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Six weeks after his death in 1997, nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan assumed the qawwali helm. Rahat took Nusrat's first name in a traditional gesture of admiration of his master, and in so doing was officially recognized as the new leader of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's group.
Born in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was selected at birth by his uncle for tutoring in the art of qawwali music. A precocious child, Rahat was singing at the age of three with his uncle and his father Farroukh Fateh Ali Khan, another respected qawwali singer. Rahat began formalized training with his uncle at the age of six. By age 15, Rahat officially joined his uncle's celebrated group.
Since becoming the head of the group, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has performed on a variety of recordings and has sung with Eddie Vedder at the Dead Man Walking Concert put on by Tim Robbins. He and his band continue to entrance world audiences with numerous shows around the globe. Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's self-titled release on American Recordings is his U.S. debut. Recorded in Santa Monica, CA, its four tracks are both emotionally charged and expertly performed. Producer Rick Rubin, of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Beastie Boys fame, boosts Rahat's already potent sounds by cranking up the low end and placing the tabla way up in the mix.
Though Rahat is excited to play with Western pop musicians and lay down tracks in state-of-the-art studios, he is ultimately most concerned with the art of qawwali and its mystically imbued message. As he states, "qawwali music is not only music, it is a message. It was created by Sufis, and when we compose and practice this music, it stays forever. Other music comes and goes, but qawwali never goes. Once you start listening, it goes in your soul, goes in your spirit, and you become more human. I feel that this music is my duty, to go and give the message of Sufism. My future is that one day I will fulfill the desire of Nusrat to give this message to the world."
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (born December 9, 1973) (Urdu: راحت فتح علی خان) is a Pakistani singer, primarily of Qawwali, a devotional music of the Muslim Sufis. He is the nephew of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and son of Ustad Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan and also the grandson of legendary Qawwali singer Fateh Ali Khan. In addition to Qawwali, he also performs ghazals and other light music. He is popular as a Bollywood and Lollywood playback singer.Cite error: The named reference ans was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Pallavi Jassi (20 April 2008). "Sufi sublime". The Indian Express.
Rahat was born into a family of Qawwals and classical singers in Faisalabad (formerly known as Lyallpur), Punjab, Pakistan into a family of traditional musicians. The son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, he was trained by his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the art of classical music and Qawwali."Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Information". Answers.com. Retrieved 4 August 2010. Prince of Qawwalis
Rahat was chosen by his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for tutoring in the traditions of Qawwali music and was precociusly singing with his uncle and father by the age of three. At the age of seven he began formal training with his uncle and he performed first time in public at the age of nine at the death anniversary of his grandfather. From age fifteen, he was made an integral part of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's qawwali group which was famous throughout the world. He toured the UK with his uncle in 1985, and performed solo songs in addition to singing with the Qawwali group. At a concert in Birmingham on 27 July 1985, he performed the solo ghazal, Mukh Tera Sohneya Sharab Nalon Changa Ae. At a concert at the Harrow Leisure Centre in 1985, he performed the solo song, Gin Gin Taare Lang Gaiyaan Rattaan. He sang lollywood playback in the 90s and debuted as a playback singer in Bollywood with the movie Paap (2004), featuring the hit song, Mann Ki Lagan. His recent works include Pakistani nationalistic songs such as Dharti Dharti and Hum Pakistan, and songs from Bollywood films. He has toured extensively and performed in Pakistan, India, United Kingdom and all around the world. In April 2012 Rahat toured in the UK, performing at Wembley Arena and the Manchester Arena, playing to a combined audience of over 20,000 people.
Soundtracks and collaboration
In a subordinate role with his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, working in collaboration with Eddie Vedder, of the American rock band, Pearl Jam, Rahat contributed to the soundtrack of the 1995 Hollywood film, Dead Man Walking. In 2002, he worked on the soundtrack of The Four Feathers in collaboration with the American composer of orchestral and film music, James Horner. In 2002, Rahat guested with The Derek Trucks Band on the song Maki Madni for Trucks' album, Joyful Noise. In 2011, his vocals were featured on the soundtrack of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.
He judged the show, Chhote Ustaad 2 alongside Sonu Nigam. He was also one of the judges on the singing reality show Junoon – Kuchh Kar Dikhaane Ka, premièred on NDTV Imagine in 2008.al., Sarina Singh ... et (2008). Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway. (7th ed. ed.). Footscray, Vic.: Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781741045420. M. Sheikh, A. Sheikh (2012). Who's Who: Music in Pakistan. Xlibris Corporation, 2012. ISBN 9781469191591. Introduction to the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan DVD Live in Concert in the U.K., Vol. 8 (Oriental Star Agencies) "Rahat Fateh Ali Khan smashes BO sales at Wembly Stadium". Retrieved 3 August 2012. "James Horner, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan* – The Four Feathers". Retrieved 4 August 2010. "Annu Kapoor host Junoon Kuchh Kar Dikhaane Ka". 2 May 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has done numerous concerts throughout the world. In United Kingdom, he has visited many places like London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is married to Nida Khan, daughter of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. They have two daughters, Maheen Khan and Filza Khan, and a son, Shazmaan Khan (born 2007).