Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is more than just a great musician and sufi singer for percussionist Brook Martinez. He is the spirit that binds the 11 members of his all Caucasian band, the Brooklyn Qawwali Party, founded in 2003, which performs jazz to Nusrat’s music.
Growing up with hip-hop, sufi music did not feature in Martinez’s teenage world. Then, one evening, he saw Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on a VH1 Awards ceremony. “I heard Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for the first time then and my first reaction was ‘who is this large Pakistani guy’? That performance completely bowled me over.”