Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Lost Album ‘Chain of Light’ to be Released by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records

Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Records is set to release “Chain of Light,” a previously unheard album by Pakistani qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Published Time: 21.06.2024 - 16:31:28 Modified Time: 21.06.2024 - 16:31:28

Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Records is set to release “Chain of Light,” a previously unheard album by Pakistani qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The recordings, discovered in the label’s archives in 2021, date back to April 1990.

The album features Khan with his eight-piece ensemble performing four traditional qawwalis (Sufi Islamic devotional songs), including one never-before-heard track. Recorded at Real World Studios during the same session as Khan’s crossover hit “Mustt Mustt,” the album is said to showcase the singer at his vocal peak.

Khan, a qawwali singer with a 600-year lineage, brought Sufi devotional music to global audiences. His powerful yet precise vocals earned him fans like Jeff Buckley, who called Khan “my Elvis,” as well as The Rolling Stones and Madonna. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder collaborated with Khan on the film “Dead Man Walking” (1995). A.R. Rahman featured him on his “Vande Mataram” (1997) album.

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The singer’s relationship with Real World Records began after his 1985 WOMAD festival performance. Khan and Gabriel collaborated on Gabriel’s 1989 album “Passion,” which featured in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988). Khan’s international profile grew through collaborations with Gabriel and appearances on other Hollywood soundtracks.

In 1997, Khan died at the age of -

48. But his legacy continues to grow, with six million monthly Spotify listeners and over one billion YouTube views. A documentary, “Ustad,” from Pakistan’s Saiyna Bashir Studios, is slated for release in late 2025.

“Chain of Light” releases on Sept. 20, 2024, via Real World Records, supported in part by the British Council.

“I’ve had the privilege to work with a ton of different musicians from all over the world in my time, but perhaps the greatest singer of them all was Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,” says Peter Gabriel. “What he could do and make you feel with his voice was quite extraordinary and we were very proud to have played a role in getting him to a much wider global audience. 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.”

“There is an amazing clarity to these performances,” producer Michael Brook added. “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.”

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