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Shahen-Shah

4.9 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 7, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

It's difficult to escape the tight, almost rushed feeling characteristic of some of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's studio recordings. Unlike the Qawwali: The Vocal Art of the Sufis series, where the party takes its luxurious time in immersing itself in praising Allah, studio-recorded Nusrat can often feel rushed, as if the party was singing qawwali for the sake of the recording rather than for the sake of religious praise. Thankfully, 1989's Shahen-Shah is different. With Nusrat's voice in fine form and the recording providing the right touch of reverb, this CD leads listeners through an outstanding sample of qawwali. Nusrat's improvisational vocal work on "Kehna Ghalat Ghalat To Chhupana Sahi Sahi" is mind-boggling, and the ensemble is outstanding for the wall of beautiful melody it creates. Rich with spirit and grace. --Karen Karleski
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 7, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Real World
  • ASIN: B000000HO0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,825 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Having grown up with Led Zeppelin, the Who and being a fan of modern artists like Bruce Springsteen and Co., I was somewhat surprised when a rock obsessed friend of mine gave me Shahen-Shah to listen to in September 2005. His words were "man this is freaky". Thinking it was some middle eastern music of a large man I put this CD into my CD player and well, what can I say? I have listened to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in some form or another for the last 9 months every day.

Make no mistake. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (the Shahen-Shah himself)is the best vocalist of the 20th century and were it not for his untimely, tragic death in 1997, he would be revered all around the world today. How different the world would be post 9/11 etc with this man around to sing and make it all better. If God (whoever he is) could choose someone to sing on his behalf, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Nusrat would be it.

Traditional Qawwali is raw, repetitive, rythmnic and long. "Shahen-Shan" provides a perfect snapshot into this genre of music (for those who are novice listeners) and also the deep spirituality that is associated wth hearing NFAK sing. And then there is the Nusrat factor itself. How scary it must have been to see this musical monument sing live. It is the greatest regret in my life that I discovered him too late. His improvisations, voice, control and charisma that is evident just by listening to him is amazing.

If there were more than five stars, I'd give it more. Nusrat is the best ever. If you haven't heard him, you are missing out.
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Format: MP3 Music
If you've never heard Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sing before, or aren't sure what to think about this kind of music, all I can say is: BUY THIS RECORD.

I'm a pretty average American. I don't play an instrument, don't speak a foreign language, don't spend my days living an exotic lifestyle.

And I've purchased this album 3 times. The first time I picked it up in a bargain bin on a whim. When I lost that one, I purchased a used copy for $35.00 from a guy in Canada. When that one became too scratched, I purchased this digital version.

Absolutely, without a doubt, worth every penny.

Yes, it' "world" music. Yes, they sing in a language that isn't English. Yes, they use non-western instruments that sound kind of different. Yes, the songs are really long.

And Yes, YES, this album is one of the most amazing listening experiences I've ever had. I don't know how many times I've listened to it, but it must be in the hundreds by now.

It's difficult to describe what listening to this album is like, especially if you're unfamiliar. But for me, it was like listening to Muddy Waters for the first time. Till then I had listened mostly to the radio. Top 40, classic rock, hard rock, RnB. Whatever. But when I listened to Muddy, it was like finding a sunlit plaza after spending a long time in a room lit by flourescent lights. It was heartfelt. It was raw, simple, powerful. And you had no doubt it was performed by someone who lived and breathed music, and who made performing it a way of life.

That's what this album is like.

Give it a chance. You won't be disappointed.
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By A Customer on December 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album is pure traditional Nusrat style Qwualli music, using only the vocals of Nusrat and his party of men, the harmonium (a hand pump organ sounding exactly like an accordian), the tabla (an Indian melodic drum), and the dhol (an Indian larger drum played in such a way to create a "special effect sound and bass sound). Nusrat adds to qwualli music with his mastery of improvisation featuring an Indian equivalent of scat singing, where the singer sings the names of the notes (the equivalent of do re me). This album has very great songs on it, is probably one of his best, and is absolutely the best album for a first timer to buy. My only complaint, contrary to the main review, is that the songs are a little rushed. None of them procede in the full amount of sections that a qwualli song has (instrumental intro, a "tunning of voices", an pure vocal/harmonium singing of poetic verses, and then the main song). So each song on here is not the full complete version of the songs, however, they probably have the best improvisation. Also rahat is not on this recording. All in all, highly recommended, and one of my favorite albums ever.
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By A Customer on May 7, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Though Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is now dead, his incredibly rich, powerful voice lives on in this and other recordings. Shahen-Shah is particularly well-recorded, balancing his energetic vocal performance with his backing singers and instrumentalists admirably - he didn't need production tricks to dominate any performance.
Singing Qawwali (Sufi devotional music), Ali Khan soars over the rhythm, showing us the way to his God. Even if we can't speak his language, we can certainly be moved by his faith.
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By A Customer on October 1, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have heard most all of nusrat's tapes, videocassetes, and cd's-- this one's his best and i will say specifically why. The other cd's such as "dust to gold" have the group when they are young; this cd shows the effects of their experience together: they weave in and out of each other creating a rich tapestry, building off successive phrases/alaps/taans. Listen to beginning of track 3 and last track especially. I don't know why "dust to gold" has been so highly rated because it lacks in this - everything's isolated, nusrat says a line, everyone repeats, he says a taan, etc. it's just formulaic moving from one thing to the next, on this cd they are reveling. The group is not concerned with being fashionable, rather more focused on bringing out the best of their music, and because Qawwali is based in traditional music, the best of their music is found in this. The cd has incredibly beatiful alaps, and when the amazon reviewer says the recording is not rush, and therefore better, it's because mainly the group members don't feel that every alap needs to be a thunderbolt, not forced to stupid taans introduced by the appearance Rahat that stun only the virgin listener, but are stale and boring to the inspired listener. A reviewer noted that Rahat is not present in this CD, for good reason. Rahat's voice is of nill value for Classical music there's no richness, no layers characteristic of all the Nusrat party vocalists-- it's too thin and undeveloped, his alaps sound like an old lady screeching -- the only reason he later appeared with the group is when they needed to become "fashionable," take notice and you'll see he starts coming in once the group started to sell out trying to rebase the foundations of their music on Jazz/Pop.
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