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The Brooklyn Qawwali Party: Mann Kunto Maula – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Meets Jazz

Posted on May 8, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Music, Pakistanis Abroad
8 Comments
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Adil Najam

The quality of this particular recording is not the best and for some readers it may star off as sounding too much like a shaadi band baaja routine. But stick with it and maybe it will grow on you too the way it did on me.

As you may have guessed by now, it is a jazz rendition of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Mann Kunto Maula by the Booklyn Qawalli Party (BQP), a group formed by “non-desi Brooklynites” that is really a tribute to the genius of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and reinterprets his master pieces in their own unique, jazz-infused style.



Here (below) is the first part of the rendition above (in both cases, I fine the second half of the video far more compelling than the first):

I had first written about the BQP back in 2006 – the band had started off as “Brian’s Qawalli Party” but turned into the “Brooklyn Qawalli Party.” The recording I had found then (which I think were nicer than what is now on Youtube) have since become unavailable so I have updated that post with newer YouTube recordings in addition to this one, which do have the benefit of also giving us a sense of the performance. Unfortunately, it seems they have not added new work (or I did not find it), but coming back to it after some years, I find this as fascinating and compelling as I did the first time.

Here is a bit more about them. Enjoy!

8 comments posted

  1. HarooN says:
    May 8th, 2011 9:27 pm

    Wow. Just heard the first one. Loved it. On to the next. What a great find!

  2. Jabbar says:
    May 8th, 2011 9:53 pm

    My first reaction was also, Wow.
    But after the novelty of goras playing desi music phased out I really got into the music. AND THEY ARE GOOOOOOD!

    Yes, Adil, the second half of the first video (have not yet heard the others) is so much better. Specially when they get into the real jazz improvisition with the music.

    Good stuff!

  3. Ehtisham says:
    May 9th, 2011 1:23 am

    Love it!
    But you know I think it gets to me, not because of the jazz, but because of the ‘shadi band baja’ nostalgia :-)

  4. Taimur says:
    May 9th, 2011 4:02 am

    Amazing stuff. But are they still active, seems like some of this may have been older.

  5. Pakistan Shopping says:
    May 10th, 2011 11:23 am

    Very interesting post thanks for writing it I just added your website to my favorites and will be back.

    Regards,
    Rabia

  6. May 10th, 2011 12:40 pm

    Wow Great Qawali

  7. Zaheer says:
    May 11th, 2011 8:17 am

    Excellent. I am not a jazz fan but a big qawalli fan. What I loved about this was that it made me understand what Nusrat Fateh Ali’s qawalli sounded like to someone who is not following the words. For me the words are really important in qawalli but this made me realize how powerful the music component is.

  8. listner says:
    May 11th, 2011 8:33 am

    sounds like Balkan Gypsy band.
    Aistaguca – Balkan Gypsy Wedding Band! – Iag Bari

    –this is a typical western music form which is dominated by Harmony and Rythm. qawali is mainly based upon two important pillars: rag and tal. Rag is the melodic form while tal is the rhythmic.
    Brooklyn qawali is a corruption of western and eastern musical forms and lack of devine notes, is like shouting and without classical music constraints.



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