The Sabri Brothers
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The Sabri Brothers (aka Sabri Brothers, Punjabi, Urdu: صابری برادران), are a qawwali group, from Pakistan, closely connected to the Sufi Chishti Order. Sometimes, referred to as Roving Ambassadors for Pakistan.Read More...
Sabri Brothers were originally led by the soaring voice of the late Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri, whose periodic repeat use of 'Allah' during songs has become a Sabri signature, and his younger brother late Haji Maqbool Ahmed Sabri. They were the first exponents of Qawwali to the West, when they performed at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1975.
Sabri Brothers have given a number of soulful qawwali performances globally with beautiful Qawwali hits. Their stature in Pakistan is colossal.
The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of
Ghulam Farid Sabri (b. 1930 in Kalyana, East Punjab – d. 5 April 1994 in Karachi; lead vocals, harmonium),
Maqbool Ahmed Sabri (b. 12 October 1945 in Kalyana – d. 21 September 2011 in South Africa; (lead vocals, harmonium),
Kamal Sabri (died 2001; vocals, swarmandal)
Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri (b. 1949 in Karachi; vocals, bongo drums, tambourine),
Fazal Islam (chorus),
Azmat Farid Sabri (chorus),
Sarwat Farid Sabri (chorus),
Javed Kamal Sabri (chorus),
Umer Daraz (chorus),
Abdul Aziz (chorus),
Masihuddin (chorus, tanpura),
Abdul Karim (dholak),
Mohammed Anwar (nal, tabla).
Amjad Sabri (vocals, harmonium) (son Ghulam Farid Sabri) (December 23, 1976 – June 22, 2016)
The Sabri brothers learned music from their father, Ustad Inayat Hussain Sabri. He trained his sons in Qawwali and North Indian classical music. Their first public performance was at the annual Urs festival of Hazrat Peer Mubarak Shah in Kalyana in 1946. The family moved from Kalyana India to Karachi, Pakistan following the Partition of India in 1947. Maqbool furthered his knowledge of music under Ustad Fatehdin Khan, Ustad Ramzan Khan, and Ustad Latafat Hussein Khan Bareilly Sharif. With the help of his father, Maqbool formed a Qawwali group at the age of eleven. Soon afterwards, Ghulam Farid, who was then performing with Ustad Kallan Khan's Qawwali party, joined him and became the leader of the party, which soon came to be known as Sabri Brothers.
Their first recording, released in 1958 under the EMI Pakistan label, was the Urdu Qawwali, Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa. Their later hits included Tajdaar-E-Haram (King of the Kaaba, 1975), O Sharabi Chorr De Peena (Hey, Alcoholic, Stop Drinking, 1976) and Balaghal Ula Be Kamalehi (Reaching the Highest Heights Through Perfection, 1977). They were the first exponents of Qawwali to the West, when they performed at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1975. They again perormed in Carneige Hall in 1978. They played the Womad festival in the UK in 1989 – one of a series of appearances there – and released the album Ya Habib (O Beloved) on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records label the following year. The Sabri Brothers is the only qawwali troupe which has a "first class" status on the Pakistan Television Corporation. Popular film and recording artists in Pakistan, the Sabri Brothers troupe has toured Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In 1970 the Government of Pakistan sent them to Nepal as representatives for a royal wedding. In 1975 they performed in the United States and Canada under the auspices of The Performing Arts Program of The Asia Society. In June 1981, they performed at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. The group is now led by Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri.
In April 1978, the album Qawwali was recorded in the United States, while the Sabri Brothers were on tour. The New York Times review described the album as, "The Aural Equivalent of Dancing Dervishes" and the, "Music of Feeling." In 1983 they recorded the album Nazre Shah Karim to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Highness Prince Aga Khan,sponsored by Tajico Group. The income of this album was donated to Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi. To devote an album entirely to the Persian poetry of Jami, a luminary of the Sufi Tradition, was an ambition they had always cherished. Ghulam Farid Sabri did the recordings of Kalam By Maulana Abdul Rehman Jami in July 1991 at the SFB studios in Berlin, but the CD sadly was not released until 1995 whereas Ghulam Farid Sabri had passed away in 1994. Thus, ''Jami'' becomes a memorial not only to the Persian poet, but also to the Pakistani "Qawwal." In 1996, they performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music- Next Wave Festival, as part of a double-bill with alternate-rockers Corner Shop. On 17 November 2001 they performed in DOM at 'ON THE CARPET Oriental Culture Festival'.
Qawwalis featured in Pakistani films
Several of their qawwalis have featured in films. Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa appeared in the 1965 Pakistani film Ishq-e-Habib, Mohabbat Karne Walo Hum Mohabbat Iss Ko Kehtain Hain in the 1970 film Chand Suraj, Aaye Hain Tere Dar Pe Tau Kucch Lay Ke Jaen Gay in the 1972 film Ilzam, Bhar Do Johli Meri Ya Muhammad in the 1975 film Bin Badal Barsaat, Teri Nazr-e-Karam Ka Sahara Milay in the 1976 film Sachaii, Tajdar-e-Haram in the 1982 film Sahaaray, and Aftab-e-Risalat in the 1977 Indian film Sultan-e-Hind.
The Sabri brothers were quite revolutionary as they performed at a diverse array of venues and extensively used mass media to get their music across to thousands of people. This was highly unorthodox as Qawwali music is historically performed only at divine occasions. In March 2008 an underpass near Liaquatabad was named after Ghulam Farid Sabri. Coke Studio Season 8 paid a special tribute to the Sabri Brothers by Atif Aslam performing the all-time hit Tajdar-e-Haram.
Awards and recognition
Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 1970 for Maqbool Ahmed Sabri.
Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 1978 for Ghulam Farid Sabri.
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