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Sabri Brothers: Greatest Hits

The late, great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan did more than anyone to make qawwali, the once-obscure Pakistani devotional music, a familiar force in the known music world. He did it in life, and now in death, by inspiration. The torch is carried by other qawwali artists, some of whom are new to the growing global audience, but well-established at home. Enter the Sabri Brothers. To find a new album brandished with that familiar title, Greatest Hits (Shanachie 64090; 72:44) seems a bit strange to westerners, but the fact is that a long and stellar reputation, dating back to the 1950s, precedes the Sabri Brothers-Haji Maqbool Ahmed Sabri and Haji Kamal Sabri, whose brother Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri died in 1994. They sing over ecstatic beds of tablas, harmonium, clapping and call-and-response vocalists, with beguiling intensity.

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