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Swan Song

3.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 10, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

It's difficult to determine what the thinking was behind adding a drum kit, bass, synthesizer, and saxophone to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's ensemble for what became his final concert in May 1997. Perhaps it was naiveté, perhaps poor taste, but whatever the thinking was, the choice reduced the most revered religious singer of our time to the functional equivalent of a Western nightclub act dressed in powder-blue threads crooning at the Luxor in Las Vegas. The praise song "Allah Hoo," regularly sung to open Nusrat's concerts, holds back the qawwali party in a cutesy rhythm designed for folks to clap merrily along to rather than encourage the ensemble to blast off into heated ecstasy. It's hard to figure out who this concert is aimed at: Nusrat purists will run away screaming, and ambient fans of his work with Michael Brook and Peter Gabriel (which now seems tasteful beside this recording) will cringe. One wonders why this mystic Sufi who dedicated his life to praising God through traditional Islamic song allowed accompaniment from swishing high hat à la the Bee Gees' "Night Fever" disco heights--where the tabla is played as if a bongo or conga. What's even more amazing is how this concert ended up sounding so Western when recorded in Pakistan, home of Islam and Nusrat's most devout Muslim followers. Perhaps it'll be smooth jazzers who will adore the funky kooka-munga rhythms and "saxy" jazz lines played on electric piano and sax here. Apparently this was the inevitable commercial direction Nusrat was being led in before he died in August 1997, but it's still unfortunate that this label had to let us in on the dirty little secret. For an outstanding sample of Nusrat's work, check out Real World's Shahbaaz. --Karen Karleski
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 10, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Narada
  • ASIN: B00000IWUV
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Sadly this recording is the final performance of my beloved Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - a man whose voice and passion made me believe in the purity and power of life.
The CD isn't as bad as the review indicates, but it certainly isn't the best of Nusrat available. Shabazz, Mustt Mustt, Night Song, any of these albums offer a better picture of his music. I do agree with the review in that these arraingements of his songs don't seem as "his" as others do. They are radical departures from his signature style and don't really allow the listener to experience his voice as is; including too much out-of-context accompaniment (a saxophone? please, never again...) and generally being overproduced, robbing the songs of one of their best qualities - always having the emotion of being spontaneous.
I love Nusrat and his music, but I recommend skipping this recording in favor of almost any other.
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By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
It was sad to hear what turned out to be nusrat's last concert ever. I think nusrat loved to experiment and that people in Pakistan liked the "modernised" qawwali as well.
Definitely not his best work. You can tell the end was near. He had lost the power in his voice. His nephew, Rahat Ali Khan, had to take up the lead vocals on the last track because you can tell that the Man did not have the energy in him. Sad to see him go. What can I say? God is selfish...
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Format: Audio CD
This is a badly produced concert recording with very poor sound: unbalanced, with screeching feedback recurring all the way through; no microphone anywhere close to the master, so that the nuances of his voice are barely heard.
Various Nusrat Ali Khan chestnuts are performed augmented with pop musicians playing western instruments in jazzy style with an incessant and unvarying beat. There is also electronic funny business on top of it all. The music is exciting and hysterically driven like a lot of pop music from middle eastern countries, very unlike the soul driven, elastic movement of the traditional Sufi Qawwali music that made Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan the great natural musician that he was. As intense as that music was, it was always spiritually founded, always balanced. Here, he sounds a little breathless, as though he is being rushed along by the speed of a train.
His swan song? I can't help but wonder if the very commercial production of this concert didn't just push this Sufi master off the edge of the planet?
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Format: Audio CD
This may not be Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's prime work, but it also isn't bad. The vocals are in top form. The backing musicianship does not have the cheesy Vegas night club feel that Karen Karleski characterizes it as having. Also, since when were Pakistani's averse to using modern instruments? I agree with the reviewer that said Ms. Karen Karleski's review reeks of chauvinism. Those who actually enjoy Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for what he is, can enjoy the last piece of work that the master left for his audience.
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Format: Audio CD
The Amazon.com review smacks of obscene colonial attitutes.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a "popular" musician not some exoticized musician playing for "mystical sufi" muslims.
This music reflects a celebration in modern day pakistan, where european influences exist.
Why isn't there a review of Rick Martin lamenting the loss of "pure" music.
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Format: Audio CD
Swan Song contains one of the most amazing compilation of songs from an artist that ranks among the 20th Century's Very Best! While not the same as other singers, Nusrat's work is an original effort in expanding his audience beyond the traditional listeners of Qawwali, which is quite revolutionary in itself.
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