The music of Pakistan tells the tale of the country’s geographic location at a crossroads between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, drawing on Pashto, Farsi, Punjabi and many other folk styles. The most widely known Pakistani musical style is Qawwali, pulsating Sufi devotional music performed by a “humnawa,” a group of eight or nine men (and they’re always men), in a religious assembly session known as a “mehfil-e-sama,” that is supposed to create a link to the divine for both the performer and listener.
Certainly the most revered Qawwali vocalist is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. PakistaniMusic.com calls revered Qawwali singer “the Bob Marley of Pakistan” and “the Elvis of the East.” Khan became internationally known in the ’80s and ’90s through his compilations with Peter Gabriel and his contributions to the film soundtracks of “Last Temptation of Christ,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Natural Born Killers” and “Jackass: The Movie.” (Kidding about that last one. Just want to see if you’re paying attention.)