Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words.
The Sabri Brothers are a sufi Qawwali party from Pakistan.
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, 1945 in Kalyana – d. September 21, 2011 in South Africa; 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), andMohammed Anwar (nal, tabla).
Their first recording, released in 1958 under the EMI Pakistan label, was the Urdu Qawwali, Mera Koi Nahin Hai. Their later hits includedTajdaar-E-Haram (King of the Kaaba, 1975) and Balaghal Ula Be Kamalehi (Reaching the Highest Heights Through Perfection, 1977). They were the first exponents of Qawwali to the West, when they performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1975. They played the Womad festival in the UK in 1989 – one of a series of appearances there – and released the album Ya Habib (O Beloved) on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records label the following year. The Sabri Brothers is the only qawwali troupe which has a “first class” status in the Pakistan Television Corporation. Popular film and recording artists in Pakistan, the Sabri Brothers troupe has toured Europe, Asiaand the Middle East. In 1970 the Government of Pakistan sent them to Nepal as representatives for the royal wedding. In 1975 they performed in the United States and Canada under the auspices of The Performing Arts Program of The Asia Society. In June 1981, they performed at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. The group is now led by Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri.
In April 1978, the album Qawwali was recorded in the United States, while the Sabri Brothers were on tour. The New York Times review described the album as “the aural equivalent of dancing dervishes” and the “music of feeling.”
Several of their qawwalis have featured in films. Mera Koi Nahin Hai appeared in the 1965 film Ishq-e-Habib, Mohabbat Karne Walo in the 1970 film Chand Suraj, Aaye Hain Tere Dar Pe in the 1972 film Ilzam, Bhar Do Johli Meri Ya Muhammad in the 1975 film Bin Badal Barsaat, Teri Nazr-e-Karam in the 1976 film Sachaii, Tajdar-e-Haram in the 1982 film Sahaaray, and Aftab-e-Risalat in the 1977 Indian film Sultan-e-Hind.