Concert review: Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali KhanGlasgow Royal Concert Hall ****

TRAINED by his late uncle, world music superstar Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Pakistani singer known to his huge international fan-base as Rahat is the sixth generation in his family to pursue the ancient art of qawwali, the mystical Sufi vocal tradition which seeks to induce a state of rapture in performers and listeners alike.

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While his celebrated forebear was chiefly responsible for introducing Western audiences to this music, in part through collaborations with the likes of Massive Attack and Eddie Vedder, Rahat's wider fame derives mainly from his multi-award-winning success as a Bollywood soundtrack artist, a non-devotional arena where qawwali has attained major popularity among Indian as well as Pakistani audiences.

This sold-out show was thus largely thronged with Glasgow's south Asian community, the women gorgeously dressed to impress in jewel-hued shalwar kameez; all in a state of high excitement at the presence of such a hero and master ("Ustad" is an honorific akin to "maestro"). Presiding over a 14-piece band, including six accompanying singers and tabla drums, plus electric guitar and bass, saxophone, keyboards and drumkit, Rahat delivered a magnificent, spellbinding display of qawwali's sumptuous treasures, his incandescently soulful, sorrowful, exultant voice soaring and swooping through themes and variations, call and response, amid settings that ranged from lush, catchy pop – also taking in a handful of dreamy romantic ballads – to sparse acoustic adornment.

Even without knowing the music's technical or poetic language, that state of rapture was marvellously easy to grasp.