Rizwan-Muazzan Qawwali: Sacrifice to Love

The premature death of the great singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1997 cut short a career of remarkable ascendancy. It was he who gave Qawwali a previously unrealized recognition in the West, but the ancient Sufi musical tradition carries boldly forth, as it has for nine centuries, if without so charismatic and singular an ambassador to the world. Listen, for instance, to the ecstatic intensity of Rizwan-Muazzan Qawwali, Sacrifice to Love (RealWorld 70876; 62:10), an enthralling example of the idiom. The group is led by young nephews of Nusrat, Rizwan Mujahid Ali Khan and Muazzam, vocalists who sound remarkably mature for men not yet out of their teens. They may not have the suppleness and restraint of their virtuosic uncle, but all the right musical pieces are in place. Over four pieces in an hour-long set, they convey the careful balance of theme and improvisation, with an engaging spirit of music-making that suggests both sensuous and spiritual abandon.