Mustt Mustt : Kiran Ahluwalia with Tinariwen
When I lived in India, the song “Musst Musst” was a huge hit. The Panjabi folk song, written by Bari Nizami, performed and recorded by Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan, was being played everywhere. I heard it on the radio, in rickshaws, guesthouses, restaurants… it seemed in the air all over the country. It was inspiring to see this beautiful song redone so beautifully with a world fusion style.
This is off of Kiran Ahluwalia release “Aam Zameen: Common Ground” with Tinariwen, a wonderful mix of Indian/Quwwali with West African blues infused by Tuareg musicians from Mali.
Go to Kiran Ahluwalia Website
Go to Tinariwen
Roots of Qawwali
Beginning the 11th Century, predating the birth of Muhammad, spiritual concerts took place in the tradition of Sama. Nizamuddin Auliya, a follower of the Christi school of Sufism, used music extensively in prayer gatherings, which created tension with the orthodox Islamics in Delhi. However, the godfather of Qawwali is said to be Amir Khusru from the 13th century, a legendary musician, politician and philosopher who mixed elements from Turkey, Persia and India in the creation of a new music.
Qawwali concerts are a musical gathering, containing a lead singer, second singer, harmonium and tabla and a small choir of other singers all sitting on the floor. It is a communal experience, with the audience being participators and no single person is considered to be more important, in fact, one of qawwali’s formal names means “gathering for listening”.
Qawwali players must be extremely talented musicians and poets, able to adapt to different moods of ceremonies and able to improvise in several languages in different poetic traditions. Often, qawwals are part of historic families who pass down this ‘trade’ to their offspring.
Here is a live performance by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,"Dam Mast Qalandar Mast Mast" at the Nelson Mandela Concert 1993, Birmingham.
Khan was a master of Qawwali singing, which combines lyrics from Sufi religious poems with hypnotic rhythms and vocal chants. Considered a superstar in the Sufi community, Khan drew thousands of fans to concerts, where many danced as though lost in ecstatic trances and threw money at his feet while he played.
Real World Lable 1990 release. "Musst Musst"
A noteable recording In 1995, Khan collaborated with Michael Brook on the album "Night Song," which some denounced for departing too much from qawwali tradition, however Khan did not take a purist outlook toward his art. "The mixing of qawwali with popular music does not make any difference as long as it is a known religious song," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1996.
"Since our first meeting at WOMAD in 1985, Nusrat, his voice and his music have been an important part of me life."
~Peter Gabriel speaking after Mr. Kahn's passing in 1997