Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The First Qawwal honoured by Google

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The First Qawwal honoured by Google


In 2015, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, an iconic musician, is often recognized as one of the pioneers of “world music.” His spiritual charisma and unique exuberance gained him immense fame as one of the earliest and most prominent artists to introduce qawwali, an “arcane religious tradition,” to Western audiences. Khan’s exceptional vocal range, improvisation skills, and intense performances lasting up to 10 hours made his music a sensation all across Europe.


Numerous artists have acknowledged Khan’s influence, including Jeff Buckley, Nadia Ali, Zayn Malik, Malay, Peter Gabriel, A.R. Rahman, Sheila Chandra, Alim Qasimov, Eddie Vedder, and Joan Osborne. His music was appreciated by personalities from various fields, such as Mick Jagger, Amitabh Bachchan, Trudie Styler, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Sam Harris.




Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Google Doodle – Courtesy of



Paul Williams included one of Khan’s concert performances in his book, “The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits,” and the Derek Trucks Band covered his songs on two of their albums. A tribute band called Brooklyn Qawwali Party was formed in New York City in 2004 to perform Khan’s music. In 2007, electronic music producer and performer Gaudi released an album, “Dub Qawwali,” which earned him a nomination for the BBC’s World Music Awards 2008.


Google honored Khan’s 67th birthday with a doodle on its homepage in six countries, calling him the person “who opened the world’s ears to the rich, hypnotic sounds of the Sufis.” The leaked song “Circle of the Noose” by Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1998 contained a loop of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s vocals. Pakistani American poet Faisal Mohyuddin’s book, “The Displaced Children of Displaced Children,” features the poem “Faisalabad,” which pays tribute to Khan and the city of his birth.




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