Nusrat. A Decade into their career, the musicians or Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali are already proving to be masters of Sufi devotional music.
The broadening of qawwali’s appeal was central to Nusrat’s mission and it is an approach snared by the group. Its debut album, Sacrifice to Love, released in 1999, was an entirely traditional album. So was its 2001 follow-up, A Better Destiny. It has also released a remix fusion album with Temple of Sound. The group is a mainstay on Peter Gabriel’s influential Real World record label.
Rizwan and Muazzam lead five back-up singers in repeated chanting, usually to the accompaniment of rhythmic hand clapping, percussion and harmonium music. The lead singer adds elaborate vocal lines, and the tempo and volume are gradually increased with each singer trying to outdo the other in terms of vocal acrobatics as the piece progresses to a heightened trance-like state.