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Sabri Brothers


The Sabri Brothers are the real deal. Premier Pakistani qawaals with over 40 years of performing behind them, this musical family has been a -- if not the -- driving force behind Qawaali's modern presence both at home and abroad. More traditional than the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Sabris mainly rely on harmonium, tabla, dholak and handclaps to accompany their ruminations on Allah. But it's the vocal interplay that supplies the group with its overpowering presence. Vocals are stark, precipitous, and call out with unrestrained longing before resolving themselves into a swelling camaraderie. The music does everything it's meant to: ecstatic love for the divine is near-palpable in voices that shake and soar, and the repetitive, yet complex rhythms could draw even non-believers into a trance. The family is reportedly descended from a famed musician in the Moghul emperor Akbar's court -- whether that's true or not, they're certainly royalty now.
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