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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s lost album ‘Chain of Light’ set for release

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s lost album ‘Chain of Light’ set for release

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s lost album ‘Chain of Light’ set for release

Photo: RADIO PAKISTAN

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  • Unreleased recordings by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are set to debut.
  • The album titled Chain of Light has surfaced from the tape archives.
  • Chain of Light features four traditional qawwali tracks.
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A collection of previously unreleased recordings by the iconic qawwali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is set to debut on September 20, more than 27 years after his passing. According to Rolling Stone, this “lost” album titled Chain of Light has surfaced from the tape archives of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. The label, which signed Nusrat in 1989, produced several acclaimed albums with him during the 1990s.

Chain of Light features four traditional qawwali tracks, including a newly discovered gem. Recorded at Real World Studios in April 1990, around the time Khan was working on Mustt Mustt with Canadian producer Michael Brook, these recordings showcase him at the peak of his vocal abilities.

Renowned for his extensive vocal range spanning six octaves, Khan gained global fame and garnered admiration from western rock and pop icons such as The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. His voice also graced soundtracks for films by Hollywood directors like Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, and Tim Robbins.

Uncovered during an archive relocation in 2021 at Real World Studios, the April 1990 tapes capture Khan just before his international breakthrough. Restored meticulously from the original analogue tapes, Chain of Light includes pristine renditions of classics like Ya Allah Ya Rehman and the rare performance of Ya Gaus Ya Meeran.

Reflecting on Khan’s significance, producer Michael Brook remarked, “There is an amazing clarity to these performances. They are more harmonically adventurous than the other songs that Nusrat was recording at the time and the whole group is firing on all cylinders.”

Longtime manager Rashid Ahmed-Din noted 1990 as pivotal in Khan’s career, marking his expansion into western audiences. Peter Gabriel also shared his admiration, saying, “I’ve had the privilege to work with a tonne of different musicians from all over the world in my time, but perhaps the greatest singer of them all was Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan… It was a real delight when we found out this tape had been in our library. This album really shows him at his peak. It’s a wonderful record.”

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In addition to the album release, a definitive documentary on Khan’s life titled Ustad is scheduled for release by Islamabad-based Saiyna Bashir Studios by late 2025. Supported by a grant from the British Council, the studio aims to promote Chain of Light in collaboration with Real World Records.

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