Sabri Brothers - Bhar Do Jholi Meri Ya Muhammad - Studio Recording - Ghulam Farid Sabri & Maqbool Ahmed Sabri
The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of Ghulam Farid Sabri (b. 1930 in Kalyana, East Punjab - d. April 5, 1994 in Karachi lead vocals, harmonium), Maqbool Ahmed Sabri (b. October 12, 1941 or 1945 in Kalyana; lead vocals, harmonium), Kamal Sabri (d. 2001; vocals, swarmandal), Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri (b. 1949 in Karachi; vocals, bongo drums, tambourine), Fazal Islam (chorus), Azmat Farid Sabri (chorus), Sarwat Farid Sabri (chorus), Javed Kamal Sabri (chorus), Umer Daraz (chorus), Abdul Aziz (chorus), Masihuddin (chorus, tanpura), Abdul Karim (dholak), and Mohammed Anwar (nal, tabla).
There were four Sabri brothers. The eldest brother was Ghulam Farid Sabri. A man of immense spirituality, he was considered to be a saint. He possessed a deep and powerful voice and presented the wajad energy when performing. Maqbool Ahmed's light and melodious voice was able to immerse listeners into haal. When asked whether he ever gets aches and pains from sitting on the floor constantly, he replied, "I had five knee injuries and two operations. But sitting during a Qawwali performance is a must because it is following the Eastern tradition of sitting to meditate or pray and for respect of the word of God and the Prophet". Finally, there is Kamal Sabri and Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri.
The Sabri Brothers enjoyed great popularity from the 60s to the mid 80s. In the late 80s, the party split up into two groups, and this started their downfall. Ultimately they rejoined in the early 90s, but soon Ghulam Fareed died, and this was the beginning of their end. Maqbool Ahmed still performs with the remaining members of the group, but without Ghulam Fareed, he could not attract the same audience as before.
The Sabri Brothers' musical lineage stretches back many centuries, to the time of the Mughal emperors. They claim to be direct descendants of Mian Tansen, the legendary Hindustani musician of the court of Mughal emperor Akbar the Great. Mehboob Baksh Ranji Ali Rang, their paternal grandfather, was a master musician of his time; Baqar Hussein Khan, their maternal grandfather, was a unique sitarist. All members of the group belong to the Sabriyya order of Sufism, hence the name Sabri.
The Sabri brothers learnt music from their father, Ustad Inayat Sen Sabri. He trained his sons in Qawwali and North Indian classical music. Their first public performance was at the annual Urs festival of Hazrat Peer Mubarak Shah in Kalyana in 1946. The family moved from India to Karachi, Pakistan following the Partition of India in 1947. Maqbool furthered his knowledge of music under Ustad Fatehdin Khan, Ustad Ramzan Khan, and Ustad Latafat Hussein Khan Rampuri. With the help of his father, Maqbool formed a Qawwali group at the age of eleven. Soon afterwards, Ghulam Farid, who was then performing with Ustad Kallan Khan's Qawwali party, joined him and became the leader of the party, which soon came to be known as The Sabri Brothers.
Career & Legacy
Their first recording, released in 1958 under the EMI Pakistan label, was the popular Urdu Qawwali, Mera Koi Nahin Hai. The Sabri Brothers became the first exponents of Qawwali to the West in 1975, when they performed to a sold-out audience at New York's Carnegie Hall. Their career was marked by brotherly squabbles which led to periods of solo work by each. Ghulam Farid's funeral in Karachi was estimated to be attended by more than 40,000 mourners. The group now features Maqbool as the leader, supported by Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri. The Sabri Brothers have been praised for their sensitive and masterly performance of Qawwali that captures the beautiful traditions of Sufism. There was a great emphasis on revealing the poetry of the khwajagaan (saints). For years, The Sabri Brothers were regarded as the foremost living exponents of the tradition of Qawwali. Even after Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan burst on the scene and lifted Qawwali to a whole new level, The Sabri Brothers continued to be very highly regarded.