Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (October 13, 1948 August 16, 1997), was a Punjabi musician from Pakistan, primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). He featured in Time magazine's 2006 list of 'Asian Heroes'.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was born on October 13, 1948 in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan. He was the fifth child and first son of Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, a musicologist, vocalist, instrumentalist, and Qawwal. Khan's family, which included his four older sisters and his younger brother, Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan grew up in central Lyallpur. In 1979, Khan married his first cousin, Naheed (the daughter of Fateh Ali Khan's brother, Salamat Ali Khan); they had one daughter, Nida.
Khan began by learning to play tabla alongside his father before progressing to learn Raag Vidya and Bolbandish. He then went on to learn to sing within the classical framework of khayal. Khan's training with his father was cut short when his father died in 1964, leaving Khan's paternal uncles, Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, to complete his training.
Khan teamed with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ in 1985, with Canadian musician Michael Brook (on the albums Mustt Mustt (1990) and Night Song (1996)),[unreliable source?] and with Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder in 1995 on two songs for the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Natural Born Killers.
Peter Gabriel's Real World label later released five albums of Nusrat's traditional Qawwali, together with some of his experimental work which included the albums Mustt Mustt and Star Rise. Nusrat provided vocals for The Prayer Cycle, which was put together by Jonathan Elias, but died before the vocals could be completed. Alanis Morissette was brought in to sing with his unfinished vocals. He also performed traditional Qawwali before international audiences at several WOMAD world music festivals and the single Dam Mast Qalandar was remixed by electronic trip hop group Massive Attack in 1998.
His album Intoxicated Spirit was nominated for a Grammy award in 1997 for best traditional folk album.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan holds the world record for the largest recorded output by a Qawwali artist—a total of 125 albums as of 2001.
Khan was taken ill with kidney and liver failure on August 11, 1997 in London, England while on the way to Los Angeles in order to receive a kidney transplant. He died of a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital, London, on Saturday, August 16, 1997, aged 48.
After his death, the song "Solemn Prayer", on which Nusrat provided vocals, was used by Peter Gabriel on his album Up and in the soundtrack to the film Blood Diamond - Music of Pakistan