Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Dust to Gold (CD)


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Dust to Gold (CD)


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party (p) © 2000 Real World Records Ltd. Licensed exclusively to, and manufactured and distributed by: Narada Productions Inc., 4650 N. Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, WI, 53212. All tracks published by Womad Music Ltd./EMI Virgin Music Ltd. The dust jacket website reference doesn’t fully connect, so please see Real World Records for info: (


The liner notes say that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s hometown was Lahore, Pakistan. It becomes complicated, as much like Israel (known then as “Palestine”) had been partitioned to carve an Arab state from its midsts (known as “Jordan”), so, too, had India been partitioned to carve a Muslim state from its midsts, known as Pakistan (not to mention that India had first fallen under Colonial occupation and rule by the British). According to (accessed April 10, 2016 and applicable to the rest of this information): (, the ancestral Khan household was situated, prior to Partition, at Basti Sheikh, in the city of Jalandhar, East Punjab, British India (now in Punjab, India).


Ali-Khan was born, after Partition, on October 13, 1948, and grew up, then, in central Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan, finding early affinity in the family tradition of Sufi devotional music, known as Qawwali. He ascended to leadership of his family Qawwali party upon the deaths of his father, and afterwards, also, an Uncle, and gave his first public performance, via a studio broadcast recording, during the annual music festival known as Jashn-e-Baharan, arranged by Radio Pakistan.


He only lived to age 48, expiring of a heart attack in London, England on August 17, 1997, awaiting a kidney transplant, due to renal failure.


His music has garnered multi-national awards, and he is known as a pioneering force in world music. He partners with Ofra Haza in the song “Forgiveness”. While I can only recall his utterance in this mostly instrumental song as a singular one, it is, nevertheless, a good one. Both he and Ofra solely, and soulfully, wail, using their voices non-lyrically as instruments.


I had not, yet, discovered his rendering in “Forgiveness” prior to hearing this “Dust to Gold” CD, and so my opinions were proferred as a neophyte to his music. Had it been the reverse, perhaps I would have heard him in a more-flattering context; as it were, I did not. Frankly, I feel that this music is a fail. Much as the failed process of alchemy whereby the synthesization of precious metals, like gold, is attempted to be created through dust or other materials, the synthesization from “Dust to Gold” in this music, simply put, doesn’t work.


  1. Khawaja Tum Hi Ho (Master It Is Only You) (Rajasthani Hindi) 15:44 – The inside jacket explains that this song, sung in a female persona in the classical style, praises a Sufi saint. I find it an annoying semblance of a screaming, dying cat.
  2. DATA Teira Durbur (Master In Your Court) (Urdu) 16:21 – This song also praises a Sufi saint, and may be even more annoying than the first. Oy!
  3. Koi Hai Na Ho Ga (There Was No-One, There Will Not Be Anyone) (Urdu) 15:08 – Apparently not. This song praises the Islamic “Prophet”, and has a more familiar tune. Interestingly, it mentions Aksa mosque (Jerusalem), but makes no mention of the Dome of the Rock (Al-Aksa is the small, silver mosque on the Temple Mount; the Dome of the Rock, the familiar representation of Islam in Israel, is not actually a mosque).
  4. Noor-E Khuda Hai Husn-E-Sarapa Rasool (The Light of G-d is the Embodiment of the [Islamic] “Prophet”) (Urdu) 17:09 – Praises the Islamic “Prophet”. Also more familiar; almost hypnotic.

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