The end of the Sabri brothers


A marked era of Qawwali singing was pushed towards the end with the demise of legendary Qawwali singer Maqbool Ahmed Sabri who passed away in South Africa on Wednesday. Known together as the Sabri brothers, Maqbool Ahmed Sabri and his brother Ghulam Fareed Sabri both learnt music from their father and formed a Qawwali group at the age of 11. Maqbool and Ghulam Fareed both played the harmonium and gave the lead vocals for the group. Maqbool and Fareed both learnt music from their father, Ustad Inayat Sen Sabri. The brothers’ first recording, released in 1958 under the EMI Pakistan label, was the Urdu Qawwali, ‘Mera Koi Nahin Hai’. They were the first exponents of qawwali to the West, when they performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1975. Over the years, several of their qawwalis have featured in films. ‘Mera Koi Nahin Hai’ appeared in the 1965 film ‘Ishq-e-Habib’, ‘Mohabbat Karne Walo’ in the 1970 film ‘Chand Suraj’, ‘Aaye Hain Tere Dar Pe’ in the 1972 film ‘Ilzam’, ‘Bhar Do Johli Meri Ya Muhammad’ in the 1975 film ‘Bin Badal Barsaat’, ‘Teri Nazr-e-Karam’ 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’. Nephew Amjad Sabri expressed his grief and sadness upon the death of his uncle, who he was a paternal shadow especially after his own father’s death. “Our family has been grief stricken since they heard the news,” he said. He explained that Maqbool had been a heart patient and had been receiving treatment in South Africa. Maqbool leaves behind a wife and five children.


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