REMEMBERING NUSRAT – A TRIBUTE TO USTAD NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN
This October, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Michael Seal, will come together with the legendary Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & group to pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest vocalists, the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Presented by Saregama, this exciting and ambitious project will fuse Nusrat’s most loved compositions with the full force of a 75-piece symphony orchestra performing Qawwali classics such as Dum Must Qalander and Yeh Jo Halka, Halka to stirring love songs like Afreen Afreen, Piya Re Piya Re and popular Bollywood numbers, including Zindagi Jhoom Kar and Tere Bin.
Over a total of four evenings, audiences at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham and London’s Royal Festival Hall can expect to be astonished and transformed by Rahat’s incredible vocals set against a powerful and hypnotic orchestral backdrop.Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is one of the greatest Qawwali singers in history and an important figure who crossed social, cultural and geographical borders in East and West to bring musical styles and people together.
As well as his inestimable status in the traditions of Qawwali, Nusrat is also well known for his Bollywood and Hollywood musical scores: he collaborated with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ and, working with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, contributed to the musical score of the 1995 film, Dead Man Walking. He is an inspiration to many Western musicians, including acts as diverse as Massive Attack, Alanis Morissette and the late Jeff Buckley who paid homage on his album, Live at Sine-e, saying “Nusrat, he’s my Elvis” before performing Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai.
Nusrat recorded scores of albums throughout his life and in the West signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, releasing five albums of traditional Qawwali as well as some of his more experimental work, including the albums Mustt Mustt and Star Rise with Peter Brook.It is wholly appropriate that Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is involved in this very special tribute. Rahat is Nusrat’s nephew and was formally nominated by Nusrat as his successor, taking over the family Qawwali party after Nusrat’s death in 1997.
With his uncle as his musical teacher and spiritual mentor since the age of 7, Rahat is a master of the Qawwali traditions and a star in his own right. He has also contributed to numerous Bollywood and Hollywood scores, most recently on Mel Gibson’sApocalypto.
The music for Remembering Nusrat will be arranged by the respected Belgian-born composer and arranger Tim Pottier who is based in the UK. Tim has recently returned from Pakistan, where he met with Rahat to discuss the project and agree the material to be performed. Tim is a founder member of Maqamat Theatre Dance and last year arranged and orchestrated Rafi Resurrected, A Tribute to Mohd. Rafi, with Sonu Niigaam and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.( ‘Its a mammoth task blending together one of the world’s greatest improvised vocal traditions with 75 classically trained musicians.
Thankfully, Rahat is a unique artist who breathes musicality and open-minded professionalism, whilst the CBSO under Mike Seal is the kind of versatile outfit capable of rising to this sort of challenge. There’s a wave of Indian music projects happening within UK’s classical music scene riding on the back of the success of the last CBSO project, but once again it seems that Saregama and the CBSO are taking the first brave steps beyond the frontier’.…)
The award-winning City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is renowned throughout the world. The CBSO’s first assistant conductor, Michael Seal has led the orchestra in numerous, highly-acclaimed projects, including the enormously successful Rafi Resurrected concerts in 2008.
This is the second groundbreaking live extravaganza to be organised by Saregama, following the best-selling Rafi Resurrected project in 2008. Saregama, formerly known as the Gramophone Company of India Ltd, was originally established as the first overseas Indian branch of EMI in 1901. The company is the premier destination for South Asian Music and is the most authoritative source of the region’s musical heritage.