LONDON: Britain’s Oxford University has announced to name one of its rehearsal rooms to honour Pakistani musician Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, making him the first South Asian artist to receive such a tribute. In this regard, Oxford University’s Faculty of Music has arranged a concert on May 25, wherein the famed singer will bring to stage the magic of the 600-year-old qawwali tradition. The event is geared to raise funds for the aforementioned department’s work and will be held in the institute’s Sheldonian Theatre, according to the university’s website. The Fusion Project – comprising Oxford University’s students – will join Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in the concert to perform original compositions created by its lead singer Rushil Ranjan.
Qawwali, a major part of the subcontinent’s music scene, is known as the rhythm of Muslim Sufi saints. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, having being mentored by the ‘King of Qawwali’ Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, has made it one of his life goals to spread the genre and Pakistan’s name throughout the world. Moreover, Rahat Fateh Ali disclosed that he will be gifting his late uncle and legendary musician Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali’s harmonium to the university. It is hoped that the importance of the tradition of qawwali will garner much more prominence once the room is officially named after Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. On the development, Music Faculty Board chairman Professor Michael Burden said, “The music of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a force on the international scene, and we are extremely grateful to the student group – The Fusion Project – for involving us in the event.” Rahat Fateh Ali has time and again sold out entire shows in his tours in US, Europe, and the Middle East.