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Baud portrays enduring legacy of Nusrat Fateh May 28, 2008

Posted by lollywoodhungama in Uncategorized.
By Schezee Zaidi

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a living legend and a bridge between tradition and modernity, orient and occident, the sacred and the profane. Referring to the roots, the lineage and the trajectory of a stellar phenomenon and the rich and enduring legacy the ‘King of Qawwali’ left for listeners everywhere, Dr Pierre Alain Baud portrays the life and work of the legendary music maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in his book titled ‘Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan — the Messenger of Qawwali’.

The book was launched at a presentation ceremony held at Alliance Francaise d’Islamabad on Tuesday. Ambassador of France Regis de Belenet was the guest of honour at the presentation with members of Alliance Francaise, socialites and diplomats.

The launching ceremony of the book consisted of four presentations, depicting the life and work of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan including three short docu-films premiered alongside with one musical presentation 10 to 15 panels’ poster exhibition.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of France Regis de Belenet said that Dr Pierre-Alain Baud’s book revives the unmatched sounds of the voice of the great singer that no proper metaphors or comparisons could ever describe the emotions felt by his worldwide audiences.

The ambassador also recalled that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan gave one of his first concerts abroad in Autumn 1985 at ‘Theatre de la ville’ in Paris, thus triggering the fame and glory which made him become one of the best ambassadors of Pakistan to the world and moreover a voice celebrated as a mean to bring people, whatever their origin, closer.

The ambassador also described the universality of his music and singing as a source of devotion and admiration that made him the ‘Shahenshah-e-Qawwali’ (the king of Qawwali). The ambassador also read out extracts from the book.

Pierre Alain Baud gave a vivid presentation about the book with anecdotes from the life and music of Nusrat Fateh Ali. The book is the first-ever complete biography on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan published in the French speaking world. The author has used his adeptness as a researcher, artistic counsellor and journalist in spreading the artistic expressions of the ‘Sufi East’ in a befitting manner.

The author, Pierre Alain Baud, mentions Nusrat Fateh Ali’s immense contribution in uniting the world through his versatile fusion music blending East and West. Known as a ‘Singing Buddha’ in Japan, the ‘Quintessence of human singing’ in Tunisia, the ‘Voice of Heaven’ in the United States and the ‘Pavarotti of the Orient’ in France, Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made the whole world resonate to the lyrical heights of Qawwali, a secular form of Sufi song that calls to divine ecstasy.

Pierre Alain Baud himself has worked many years alongside with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, thus contributing to participating in organising many of his international tours and meeting him on and off in Pakistan. He has written several books, CDs, booklets, researched articles, around the music’s of Pakistan and Sufism.

The author mentions the intensity and softness of Nusrat Fateh’s voice, his kindled presence on stage, his many encounters and colourful musical cross-blendings that helped launch him to world music superstar status. He won the applause of the most diverse audiences while keeping faithful to his message: “When I’m singing, the distance between God and me becomes lesser,” he said, also adding “This music brings people together”.

Since his untimely death in 1997, Nusrat Fateh’s legacy has continued to spread among major artists everywhere.

The author while describing the spiritual aspect of Qawwali and the frenzy of the Qawwal said “in between the world of the flesh and the world of the spirit is the void and the Qawwal is the messenger who leaps empty-handed into the abyss and returns carrying messages of love from the divine beloved (Allah)”. Comparing the devotional Qawwali with new format of rendering Ghazal in Qawwali form, the author says that the Qawwals see Ghazals as a metaphor between man and the divine.

The author also mentions that he has seen Nusrat Fateh and his party repeatedly melting the audience in to ecstatic frenzy that turned “New Yorkers into human beings”. At times Nusrat used to perform as if in a trance while singing as if the world does not exist for him any longer, the author says.

The author also describes Qawwals as men who do not play music, they are music itself. The texts from which traditional Qawwals are sung come from the works of the great Sufi poets: Bulle Shah (1680-1753), Shams Tabrez (1247), Shah Hussain (1538-1599), and the great Sufi poet and scholar, Amir Khusrao (1253-1325), who was the inventor of Qawwali itself.

Earlier, Alliance Francaise Director Matthieu Declerq gave a welcome speech and introduced the author to the audience. The book presentation by the author followed a mini-Qawwali concert to pay tribute to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali.



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