Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

A masterful blend of East and West from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook

You may or may not be into qawwali music. Sufi devotional music is not for everyone. It has its roots in Persia (now Iran and Pakistan). Songs are often 15 minutes or longer, they’re usually sung in Urdu or Punjabi, and they can hit Western ears kind of funny. I love it because of the totally alien structure, melodies, and instruments. The music can be evocative and powerful, sad and longing, and even funky.

Oh, Middle East. Look what we can accomplish when we work together.

Oh, Middle East. Look what we can accomplish when we work together.

The album I’m recommending today is NOT qawwali music. To me, it’s even better. If you’re into stretching your ears with World Music, check out Mustt Mustt, a collaboration between late qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and guitarist and producer Michael Brook that was released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label.

This is the best kind of East meets West collaboration. Masters of their own craft embrace the best of each other’s traditions and create something entirely new. The song lengths and chord progressions are often Western. The melodies and language are Eastern. The instruments are a mix. The songwriting is very strong and achieves a variety of feels from eerie to contemplative to beautiful. Check out my favorites from this great album.

  • Mustt Mustt (Lost in His Work) – Funky electric bass and accordion back Khan’s beautiful voice and interesting scat. Hear the whole song on YouTube.
  • Nothing Without You (Tery Bina) – One of the reviewers on Amazon says this is the most beautiful song he’s ever heard. I would call that hyperbole, because I’ve heard more beautiful versions of this song, but perhaps none cooler.
  • The Game – Khan gets to wail in this uplifting piece, and let me tell you, nobody wails like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Listen to the whole thing. This  powerful and moving song may be the best blend of the two cultures on this disc.
  • Fault Lines – The percussion is busy but not intrusive and the melody is lovely. Hear it all on YouTube.
  • Tana Dery Na – Throughout the album, they take turns with the Easterners exploring Western grooves and, like this track, the Westerners making themselves at home in an Eastern groove. Hear it all.

If you like this album – and I think you will – good news: They enjoyed doing this so much they made another one just like it. Get Night Song for 8 more tracks every bit as good as these.



May 13, 2009 - Posted by | World Music

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