By Umer Nangiana
He is ably carrying forward the legacy of one of the greatest singers and musicians to have come from the sub-continent in the 20th century — his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. However, the man himself has quickly established his own stature as that of a music sensation.
Having lent his voice to musical scores for films from some of the world’s best cinema, Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan is well-recognised both inside South Asia and beyond. He attracts hundreds to his concerts wherever he goes in the world.
The Ustad is likely to create a similar aura when he comes to Doha for his first ever concert, which is being presented by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) at Asian Town Amphitheatre (Old West End Park) on January 29.
In his video message to the Doha audience relayed at a press conference by the organisers recently, Khan said, “I am really excited about performing in Doha. So People of Doha, book your place at Asian Town Amphitheater on January 29 as I am going to bring to you some of my best songs with a mix of the greatest melodies from my Ustad (Teacher) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.”
Presented by QTA, the live concert of Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Qatar is sponsored by Domasco with GAC Motor, Honda, Malabar Gold & Diamonds as Platinum sponsors. The concert is being organised by Apex Events.
“I am really looking forward to performing in Qatar like I have performed in other GCC countries. Qatar was still not done and I am thankful to PME, my international management company, and Apex Events for making this happen,” Khan told journalists at the press conference attended by representatives from different sponsors and Apex Events Marketing Director Sana Salman.
Khan said the performance will be special and will feature a variety of his super hit songs from Bollywood, his album “Back 2 Love” and Qawwalis.
“Qawwalis are the heart and soul of my performances. There will be a special tribute to my uncle and Ustad, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,” revealed the singer. “Without this any of my performances are incomplete. I will do my best for sure, however, no one can be like my ustad,” he added.
Born in 1974 in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the nephew of the legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and grandson of the Qawwali maestro, Fateh Ali Khan. He is from a family whose name has become synonymous with South Asian musical tradition.
From a very early age, he was taken into tutelage by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and has been an integral part of his Qawwali party travelling the world and gaining recognition globally.
In a subordinate role with his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, he worked in collaboration with Eddie Vedder of the American rock band, Pearl Jam. In March 1998, he performed at the Slamdance Film Festival.
Khan travelled to America in the summer of 2000 for two high-profile performances at Central Park Summer Stage, New York and Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles and received critical acclaim.
He started his world tour and was soon performing in cities in the United States, Canada and Europe, including performances at Festival International Des Cultures-Pirineos Sur in Spain and SFINKS Festival in Belgium.
In 2001 he performed at the Tibet House Benefit Concert in New York at Carnegie Hall and soon after he performed for the Earthquake Benefit Concert in NY, hosted by former US president Bill Clinton. Khan loves live performances as much as he enjoys recording playback.
“They are both two different aspects of singing as recording a song has to be in a studio and live shows are my real passion, something I have been doing since my childhood,” said Rahat.
In 2002, he worked on the soundtrack of Hollywood flick, The Four Feathers, in collaboration with the American composer of orchestral and film music, James Horner.
He also collaborated with The Derek Trucks Band on the song Maki Madni for “The Derek Trucks album “Joyful Noise”. In 2006, he gave Hollywood another huge hit as his vocals were featured on the soundtrack of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. Mel Gibson described him as “a one-man band.”
The maestro has released over 50 albums and has to his name over 100 hits in Bollywood. He has been presented with numerous awards including Star Screen Awards for Best Male Playback 2010 and the IIFA award for best male vocalist 2011.
In 2014, he released his latest album “Back 2 Love” which sold millions of copies. He was invited to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and concert in Oslo recently.
As his phenomenal music journey continues. Khan said there are several projects coming up as he has already recorded over a dozen songs in the past two months and the films featuring these songs will start getting released from next month onwards.
Apex Events Managing Director Jawed Khatri said at the press conference: “Apex Events has planned this spectacular show to promote multi-cultural activities in Doha, Qatar. This will be the first one in our calendar and there are many more to come.”
He said they are expecting the 15000-capacity amphitheater to be full for Khan’s concert.
Sana Salman, the Director of Marketing at Apex Events, added, “Our main motive is to promote Qatar as a country to top notch artistes in Asia. We are sincerely thankful to QTA for their in this initiative and helping us to put forward the biggest Asian musical performance.”
Faisal Sharif, Managing Director at Domasco, said, “We are thrilled to team up with Apex Events and would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to be part of this most awaited show that brings so much excitement to Qatar.”
Greig Roffey, Sales and Marketing Head Honda; Santosh, the Regional Head of Malabar Gold and Diamonds; and Farrukh Jamal, Business Development Manager Qalco, also reiterated their support for the event.
The Gold Sponsors of the concert are Qalco (Qatar Lubricant Company) and Dania Group, while the Associate Sponsors are Al Muftah Rent a Car, Mosafer Travels, Pepsi, Habib’s Hair & Beauty, Zaffran Dining, Sapphire Plaza Hotel, Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts.
I Love Qatar, Qatar Day, Snap TV, Marhaba information guide and NRI Café are the Social Media Partners while Zee TV and Zee Aflam are media partners of the event. Qatar Living is Community partner and print media partners include Gulf Times, Qatar Happening, Ohlala Magazine, and Fact Magazine. Q-Tickets and Virgin Megastore are ticketing partners.
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