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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘lost tape recordings’ found

By Shahab Ansari
July 05, 2017

LAHORE: Fans and artistes around the world would be thrilled to know that singing legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s lost tape recordings captured just before his death were found in a storage in Oakland, California.

The recordings are owned by Australian-Pakistani singer-songwriter Mahmood Khan who worked with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1996.One of the songs was recorded at music producer Rick Rubin’s house in Los Angeles and some of the sessions were taped at Iran’s mega star Morteza Barjesteh’s studio in Encino, California.

The songs were written and developed by Mahmood Khan while working on his solo album during a time when Nusrat was battling kidney disease which eventually took his life in 1998. Mahmood’s sound engineering background had allowed him to install a recording studio at the house he had rented for Nusrat’s stay in Los Angeles, a trip which was prompted by a special invitation from Peter Gabriel and VH1.

These rare recording tapes with an estimated auction value of over 5 million dollars are in perfect condition and contain enough material to produce a new Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan album, a move being considered by Mahmood Khan.

“My dream project would be to work with Doug Emery, Julio Hernandez, Dan Warner and Lee Levin (members of the Barry Gibb Band) on this production. Maybe Barry Gibb will lend a vocal or two, you never know; if he does it will be the greatest fusion of Pop and World music ever produced,” said Mahmood Khan.

Khan was born in a village in Pakistan but that did not stop him from pursuing his dream of a career in the recording industry. Luck came knocking when he was able to get US visa that brought him to Los Angeles where he found work as second engineer in a Black music production company. Within a few years he was writing, producing, recording and mixing with some of the biggest and most talented names and acquired wealth of inside industry knowledge in genres ranging from Funk, Hip Hop, folk, Qawali, Country, Blue grass, Gypsy and the Mariachi sounds.

He got lucky again when he worked with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for his first solo album ‘ Only One’. The album sold 6 million units worldwide and broke his sound into World music stations across the US. He then spent several years in Pakistan developing his songs and occasionally working in India which resulted in critically acclaimed album called ‘Panah’, recently re released by Sony music.

In 2007, he enrolled at Sydney Film School for a film degree and seized the opportunity to record a live album at the concert hall at Sydney Opera House. This recording yielded a song ‘Like the river’, which was released as single that went on to become a number one ARIA pop hit in October 2009. Mahmood’s effort was recognised by Australian government awarding him Australian Citizenship.