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  • Shahen-Shah
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Audio CD, May 7, 1993
$32.95 $1.70
Vinyl, October 4, 1989
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The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is one of the key artists on Real World Records and certainly one of the most influential. His voice is universally recognised as one of the great voices in musical history and he was key in bringing the Qawwali music tradition to the Western world.

Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in areas with a historically ... Read more in Amazon's Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Store

Visit Amazon's Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Store
for 104 albums, photos, and 3 full streaming songs.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 7, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Real World
  • ASIN: B000000HO0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,138 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Shamas-Ud-Doha, Badar-Ud-Doja
2. Allah, Mohammed, Char, Yaar
3. Kali Kali Zulfon Ke Phande Nah Dalo
4. Meri Ankhon Ko Bakhshe Hain Aansoo
5. Nit Khair Mansan Sohnia Main Teri
6. Kehna Ghalat Ghalat To Chhupana Sahi Sahi

Editorial Reviews

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

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
This CD is for the connoisseur.
Puneet S. Lamba
Shahen Shah is the twenty-third album by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan that I have added to my collection.
Malcolm Foster
And Yes, YES, this album is one of the most amazing listening experiences I've ever had.
Lucky Randy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By spiral_mind on July 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I mean those words almost literally - at its most powerful, Nusrat's extraordinary voice really did seem to transcend our world and reach out to the stars. Its setting of qawwali (Pakistani devotional music) is based around smooth repetitions of simple chants, building a hypnotic trance with steadily building intensity, until the experience moves beyond the notes and words and reaches to touch something intangible. If you're looking for a more fusion-y blending of traditional and modern, there are synth/guitar-backed offerings like Mustt Mustt or Night Song to start with. Shahen-Shah (meaning 'Brightest Star') is pure traditional qawwali at its ecstatic peak.

It probably won't literally transport the average listener to some state of personal satori (I'm generally as unenlightened as you can get, really), but that doesn't mean these performances aren't mesmerizing. Pulsing tabla beats and handclaps form the backing rhythm, a sinuous melody is provided by the harmonium (a kind of squeeze-box that you'd swear sounds just like an accordion), and the lead and backing voices communicate above them. Sometimes it's a call-and-answer between the repetitions of the lyrics, sometimes it's an improvised scatting that's almost jazzlike. Nusrat uses his voice like an actor, conveying an entire spectrum of emotions across this disc.. there's hope, longing, joy, sadness, passion and ecstatic rapture, immediate and almost tangible even when you can't understand a word.

If the idea of so much steady repetitive chanting and droning hasn't scared you away, you'll probably be very pleased with this disc. Don't worry if it doesn't draw you in right away; the more you're willing to drift along with this heavenly trance, the less time seems to matter at all. At the very least it's a prime example of how amazing this man's voice truly was.. and that is something every serious music fan should experience regardless. Believe all the raves.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By First time reviewer on May 28, 2006
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lucky Randy on March 21, 2009
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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