Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali

The Rizwan-Muazzam group is a Qawwali group, led by the internationally acclaimed Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s nephews, Rizwan and Muazzam. The sons of Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan, they have been performing together as Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwals since the 1990s. 

The two lead singers come from a direct family line of Qawwali music that spans over five centuries. Their grandfather was an uncle of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and taught Nusrat the art of qawwali vocal music. They themselves studied under their father, who died in 1996, and were then tutored by Nusrat. They have continued their uncle’s pioneering efforts to transcend cultural, language and religious barriers and to bring to the world the devotional but vibrant Qawwali vocal music of the Sufi mystics. 

Drawing upon a rich vein of Islamic and Sufi poetry, Qawwali music is a centuries-old form of Sufi devotional music from the Indian subcontinent in which romantic love is a metaphor for spiritual adoration and mystical enlightenment. It is not surprising that Qawwali has become a staple of Bollywood film scores and an increasingly central focus of world music programmes in concert halls and festivals throughout the world. 

The band performs in traditional style - sitting on the ground rather than on seats - which they believe brings them closer to God. They sing in Farsi (Persian), Punjabi, and Urdu with an intensity that has led one commentator to call them, only half in jest, “the Qawwali Clash.” The brother’s live performances are regarded as being majestic, demanding, exciting, and deeply joyful, and it takes classical music into totally unexpected corners.

Performing songs that use hypnotic vocal repetition to induce a state of ecstasy, the brothers’ soaring voices are backed by a gharana, an ensemble of harmonium and tabla accompanied by handclaps. Intoxicating and entrancing, Rizwan and Muazzam’s voices climb and swoop as if riding air currents; the harmonium seeks a similar undulating flight path while fingertips flutter like hummingbirds across the tablas” (BBC)

Having produced several acclaimed albums with Real World Records, Rizwan and Muazzam have also performed with fellow Pakistani singers and musicians at the Coke Studio Pakistan and have collaborated with artists from around the world including Fun- da-mental, UK DJ/Producer Neil Sparks, Midival Punditz and Susheela Raman. 

In great demand, with worldwide followers, Rizwan-Muazzam have performed at festivals and venues globally, including: Barbican London, WOMAD in the UK in 2022 and WOMADelaide and WOMAD New Zealand in 2023, as well as WOMAD festivals in Italy and Abu Dhabi, Korener Hall - Toronto, Luminat’eau Festival - Canada, Llangollen International Festival Eisteddfod, Voices Festival at the London Royal Opera House, Edinburgh Mela, Jaipur Festival - India, Grand Performances - Los Angeles and Printemps des Arts - Monte-Carlo and the Royal Festival Hall, London.


Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.