Songlines | Qawwali – Guides, Features and Interviews

Qawwali Profile

The Islamic devotional music of Pakistan known as qawwali has a centuries-old legacy but was popularised in the modern era by the soulful voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Qawwali groups consist of an ecstatically-voiced lead singer, a harmonium which is used to reinforce the lead melody, at least one percussionist (usually a tabla player) and a supporting troupe who sing and clap rhythmically.

Under the guidance of a religious leader or sheikh, the repertoire is drawn from the treasure trove of Sufi poetry set to trance-like rhythms and articulating and evoking a mystical experience for the spiritual edification of the audience.

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