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Michael Brook on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
from Real World Notes 5
by Michael Brook, December 1997
[archived here without permission]

The untimely loss of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan takes an extraordinary treasure from us all.

It is still a mystery to me how his singing effortlessly transcended language and cultural barriers. His spirit reached and moved people all over the world.

The fact that the vast majority of his Western audience didn't understand a word of his devotional lyrics and yet were moved from goose bumps to tears to ecstacy says something about the underlying emotional currents that connect all of humanity. Nusrat, better than anyone, skilfully and elegantly sailed these currents.

As collaborator he has humble, gentle and focussed and no one was more open to experiment, yet he was totally uncompromising in the standard of his own performance.

I feel incredibly lucky to have worked and spent time with Nusrat. I shall miss him and our days together.