Pride of Pakistan – Alamgir

Pakistan's legendary pop singer Alamgir

Alamgir’s success story looks more like a plot of a novel. Alamgir was born in 1954 in East Pakistan. He received his early education there and at the age of 15, moved to Karachi; a city full of promises. Alamgir only brought with him two things; a guitar and a rich voice.

Alamgir began his career by playing guitar at Café D Khan situated at Tariq Road. This café was also a meeting place of intellectuals and people from TV. Someone in the crowd impressed by his talent asked him to audition for a youth program. Although Alamgir was not selected for that program, but he got noticed by Sohail Rana a famous music composer who asked him to sing for a children’s program. This set the ball rolling for an illustrious career.

As a pop singer, Alamgir emerged on the music scene in 1973/74 when he sang “Albeela Rahi” a translation of a foreign song. This one song took him to stardom and soon people especially youngsters were raving about his innocent looks and good voice. Alamgir sang many songs including ghazals; his voice suited every mood and he was at ease with every kind of song. Alamgir also did some playback singing. His songs for the film “Aaina” were a super duper hit.

Alamgir currently resides in America with his family. This singer who brought joy to many is suffering from renal problems. He has to undergo dialysis thrice a week. Always a winner, Alamgir is putting a brave front.

Pride of Pakistan – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Greatest qawaal of Pakistan Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali’s contributions to music are innumerable. He revived and revolutionized qawwali; the devotional Sufi music. Nusrat’s family had been singing qawwalis for ages. When Nusrat started singing with his uncle Mubarak Ali Khan, qawwali had lost its appeal in South Asia the place of its origin and was unheard of in the west.

Nusrat actually introduced qawwali to thousands of people. He sang with such devotion and zeal that he left the listeners even those who did not understand the lyrics were entranced. The sincerity, passion zest and the amazing intensity with which Nusrat sang qawwalis moved people regardless of their faith. He had a large audience in the West because he blended the traditional eastern music with western style. The result was that the western audience could relate to his music even though words were foreign.

Nusrat began his career in 1967, after his uncle’s death, he became the leader of his team. In 1973, EMI a Pakistani recording company released some albums featuring Nusrat and his uncle Mubarak Ali Khan. Nusrat’s immense talent was slowly being recognized and the Oriental Star Agencies of Birmingham UK signed him and so Nusrat performed in Britain in the early 80s. Many cassette companies of USA, Japan, Britain, Pakistan and other European countries released more than 50 albums of Nusrat Fateh Ali from 1973-93. However the Real World label brought Nusrat worldwide recognition.

Nusrat also composed the soundtrack of foreign movies like “Dead Man Walking”, “Natural Born Killers”, “Last Temptation of Christ” and the Hindi film “Bandit Queen”. Nusrat also worked with the British Raver “Massive Attack”. Nusrat also sang qawwalis for Pakistani and Hindi films and also composed music of some films.

Nusrat Fateh Ali was the winner of many prestigious international awards. His album Intoxicated Spirit was nominated for Grammy in 1997 in the best traditional folk album category.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan suffered a heart attack and died on 16th August 1997. Music lovers all over the world mourned his death.