REVIEWS

Incredible voice surrounded by fabulous musicians.
author: Judith Muldoon
This CD is of the highest quality, an extraordinary find. Every song flows into the next creating the perfect listening experience. Riffat's artistry is unique and fully mature. The supporting musicians astounding.
 
Fantastic
author: Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani
Riffat Sultana has a very great voice the track Naina re naina and Intezar are the best Dhamaal of Qalander is too nice i would request her to sing the Multani Kafi Tatti roro mein wat of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. well done keep it up.
 
Riffat Sings these songs with Heavenly Soul!
author: Daniel Fowler
From the first notes of "Naina Re Naina", Riffats Heavenly, Soulful vocal stylings are just such a joy to listen to. I Love every song on this c.d. And to make it even sweeter, her band really lays down some very wonderful sounds. Expect to hear some excellent instrumentalists here. These are some tight, swinging arrangements. I would highly recommend this great c.d.

Denied the opportunity to study classical music, she took the initiative to teach herself ghazals.

Riffat Sultana 
By Jeff Tamarkin

Published September 1, 2005 
Style: Ghazal

World Music Features    Riffat Sultana    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music


If Riffat Sultana sounds like a natural when she sings, chalk it up to genetics. There is an ease to the Pakistani vocalist’s delivery that suggests bloodline, and indeed she is the latest link in a chain that can be traced back half a millennium and 11 generations, to Chand Khan and Suraj Khan, legendary court musicians to Akbar the Great. Riffat’s father, classical singer Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, is himself a legend in his homeland. Originally from the Punjabi village of Sham Churasi, he and his brother Nazakat Ali Khan gained fame in the ’60s and ’70s as the Ali Brothers Today Salamat passes his knowledge on to his two sons, Shafqat Ali Khan and Sharafat Ali Khan, who perform with him.

 

 

But Riffat grew up a Muslim in a nation where women are, to put it mildly, not encouraged to become artists. Like her Indian mother, Razia, also a performer, Riffat was not initially allowed to sing in public. Observing the male members of her family practice, and knowing she too had the music in her soul, she stood in the sidelines and longed. Denied the opportunity to study classical music, she took the initiative to teach herselfghazals and other traditional songs that she’d hear from relatives and on the radio.

 

 

 

Eventually Riffat was allowed to accompany her father on tour in Europe, playing the tambura while still keeping her voice silent. The family performed in the United States and Riffat ultimately received permission to remain in the country, where she developed her musical skills and steadily gained a following within the Pakistani communities of America. Back home, her family remained unaware of her burgeoning popularity—one time when they ventured to San Francisco, Riffat sent her brothers, who had accepted her as a musician, to perform in her place lest the elders catch on.

 

          That’s all behind her now. With her voice now a finely honed instrument, even her father has recognized Riffat’s talent and given his blessing. Having previously sung Punjabi folk music, devotional Sufi songs and classical, even having led a trance band called Shabaz, Riffat Sultana now works in an acoustic trio with her husband, Shiraz Ali Khan, who adds a delicate touch on 12-string guitar, and Ferhan Najeeb Qureshi, a master on tabla. Calling themselves Riffat Sultana and Party, the trio is in buzz mode. With a new CD due this spring on the MI5/Caroline label, Riffat Sultana is not only doing what the women in her family never before had the opportunity to do, but ensuring that the next 500 years get off to a good start.

Editorial Reviews

The qawwali/trip-hop/rock fusion style that the Ali Khan Band introduced on their first release, Taswir, is perfected and taken to new levels on this album.Taswir was an interesting and impressive album, but Zindagi is more polished and more diverse than its predecessor. It seems as though the band has gotten more comfortable with their signature style and is therefore willing to take more risks and introduce different sounds. It's unusual for an act to use a saxophone, a rapper, and tablas in the same track -- and even more unusual for them to make it cohesive -- but this band actually manages to do it. The title track, "Mere Zindagi," has an almost Western-style hook that winds itself through the whole song and inspires listeners to sing along, even if they understand none of the words. Isaac J. Frierson raps on "Piyar Piyar" and "Mast Kalander," lending bits of dancehall and hip-hop to each song, while "Sindhri Do's" light tone is reminiscent of earlier works byKing Sunny Ade. The beginning of "Gorak Kalyan" sounds for all the world like early-'90s smooth jazz, but the tune swiftly shifts into a more traditional Middle Eastern style. Zindagi floats cheerfully yet purposefully along and draws the listener with it. It's a varied, intriguing, highly musical work that can compare to any other album in the genre. ~ L. Katz, Rovi All Music Guide