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Badar Ali Khan: Lost in Qawwali

The virtual superstar status of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan over the past few years has helped to familiarize the world with the Pakistani devotional music of Qawwali, but his celebrity has also eclipsed the rise of other artists who might be established in the Qawwali world, but who are relatively unknown outside of it. Take, for instance, the singer Badar Ali Khan, the 33-year-old cousin of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who has almost two dozen albums to his credit in Pakistan but is just now breaking out into the broader world music arena. On the four, extended tracks of Khan’s American debut, Lost in Qawwali (Triloka/ Worldly ), this member of the Khan clan vocalizes with an entrancing passion and seeming abandon. Like his cousin, Khan sings with an intensity and control that seemed plugged into several energies at once: the spiritual, the sexual, the worldly and the otherworldly converge.

Originally Published