Ace singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is poised to promote organic qawwali — 600-year-old legacy of his family — and launch an album next year.
“We are restarting [reviving] qawwali to have a full-fledged album for audience by next year,” said the iconic qawwal in a brief interview with Dawn after his first-ever live performance at a concert held here on Nov 23.
His legendary paternal uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan had performed once in Hyderabad, in August 1994.
“It’s really difficult to handle such a large crowd, but it was quite disciplined,” said Rahat of the crowd comprising women, young girls and children besides men in Hyderabad.
“I really enjoyed the show in Hyderabad as I have some spiritual attachment with this city due to some sacred places here,” he adds.
Sharing future plans, the world-renowned maestro disclosed that he would be directing music for a Pakistani film soon. “But I am poised to restart qawwali and have a spiritual album of it available. Work on it is under way,” he said while dispelling impression people have that he was obsessed with only Pakistani or Indian film songs alone.
“We need to revive quality music for Pakistani film industry in order to resurrect it,” he said and added that quality music was sine qua non for a good film.
He explained that music for album, film and television were entirely different entities. “There are separate frames for these three types of music,” he said.
The ace singer did not agree that Pakistani music sector lacked anything in any manner whatsoever when compared with India. “If audience is listening to their [India] music, that is different. But we don’t lack in anything,” he said.
Rahat is, however, piqued by what he termed production of ‘charba’ (copy) of music at different television channels by remixing the music. “I ask them to please put an end to it and credit must go to those it belongs to. It is really disturbing to see that every Tom, Dick and Harry starts singing compositions of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan as there is no one to claim it,” he said.
He made it clear that “if it is not stopped, I will move court of law to sue them”. He said he had personally communicated such messages, but it looked as if now legal notices would have to be served to put things on right track.
He said that if some singers kept copying songs without having any depth or sur of songs, it would lead them nowhere. “If you are blessed with good vocals then it doesn’t mean you start picking up anyone’s song and start singing it. You should sing less but with quality,” he said.
He said late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a huge example as he was singing in Lyallpur where some French persons used to record him and then took him to different countries. “We have to create quality so that people should approach us rather than we keep approaching people,” he observed.
Originally published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2019