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Asia Reviews

Dildar Hussain Khan & Abrar Hussian Khan – Sur Sangeet
It’s unlikely that readers will know the name Dildar Hussain Khan, although many will have heard him as the accompanying percussionist to one of the world’s greatest musical legends, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who was chiefly responsible for acquainting the Western world with qawwali, the ancient music of South Asian Sufis. Dildar Hussain played with Nusrat on some very memorable recordings including The Last Temptation of Christ and Dead Man Walking soundtracks. He now has his own group with three of his sons, one of whom, Abrar Hussain, shares lead vocals with Dildar.
The label Kanaga System Krush is better known for its releases of West African music and, this first foray into Pakistani music is, predictably, mostly rhythm-led. Although a number of songs of this album are drawn from qawwali’s Punjabi repertoire and are very much in keeping with the late Nusrat’s style, the final sound mix ensure that percussion remains upfront. That’s not to say it isn’t expertly played or utterly mesmerizing – quite the contrary – but many qawwali devotees might expect a greater emphasis on melody and the actual song texts. Even so, there is a pretty rare ‘Kaharva’ heard here, while the ‘Dhamaal’, set to the rhythm of a famous dance commemorating the 13th century dervish Qallandar is nothing short of hypnotic.
Jameela Siddiqi
Track to try: Dhamaal