Google Honors The Legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Google often places doodles on its homepage in honor of a holiday or to mark the legacy of a legend, and the search giant is doing it again to honor legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Although Google users in the Western world won’t see it until after midnight tonight, users in India, Pakistan, and other parts of the globe where it’s Tuesday are seeing it now.

Google doodles for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Oct. 13 would have been Nusrat Fateh Al Khan’s 67th birthday if he were still alive. However, he died of cardiac arrest on Aug. 16, 1997. Google’s special logo honoring Khan shows the iconic singer sitting in front of a microphone and singing while surrounded by his band.

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Nusrat Fateh Al Khan mostly sang Qawwali, which is devotional music for Sufi Muslims. Much of the Islamic world considers him to be the greatest Qawwali singer of all time. He received many awards and accolades throughout his lifetime, including the UNESCO Music Prize in 1995 and the Pride of Performance Award handed out by the President of Pakistan. He came from a long line of Qawwali singers, as his family has a six-century tradition in the genre.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan introduced the world to Qawwali

Most fans credit Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with bringing Qawwali music to audiences outside of the Middle East. He traveled and performed on tour extensively, visiting more than 40 countries. He also helped raise the stature of the art form among Western audiences.

The singing legend was particularly known for being able to sustain long performances, often singing for up to ten hours. Western music icon Jeff Buckley said Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was one of his biggest influences, even calling him his “Elvis.” He often performed the first few minutes of one of Khan’s hit songs at his concerts.

Other popular artists who have named Khan as one of their biggest influences include multi-award winning recording artist and Genesis lead singer Peter Gabrial, Grammy nominated Pakistani-American artist Nadia Li, and Azerbaijani musician Alim Qasimov.