World Cup 2007 December 22, 2006

Qawali: the spirit of '92

A confession: thanks to my iPod I have recently rediscovered qawali

A confession: thanks to my iPod I have recently rediscovered qawali. Some years ago I became obsessed with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the greatest qawal of all, and I was in delighted disbelief when Jeff Buckley, another of my favourite singers, declared an admiration for Nusrat and then collaborated with him. The bond between cricket and qawali was forged when I discovered that a strong cup of tea, a fried egg, and a rousing rendition of Haq Ali Ali were ideal preparation for a big innings (yes--even I've had a few). But the clincher came when it emerged that Nusrat's qawalis were an integral part of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup victory. So, in this season of goodwill whatever race, religion, or nationality you may be, I commend to you qawali, an art form that transcends all these boundaries. Some of my favourite qawalis are in Farsi, a language I barely understand. I commend it too to Team Pakistan, who require inner peace and outward fearlessness to win next year's event. Nusrat might be dead but his voice can rekindle the magic and the spirit of '92.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here