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Sabri Brothers

The Sabri Brothers
Origin Kalyana, East Punjab
Genres Qawwali
Years active 1956–present
Labels Arion
Real World
Oriental Star Agencies
Members Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri (1975 – present)
Past members Ghulam Farid Sabri (1930–94)
Kamal Sabri (? -2001)
Maqbool Ahmed Sabri (1945–2011)

The Sabri Brothers (Punjabi, Urdu: صابری برادران‎) are a Sufi Qawwali party from Pakistan, closely connected to the Chishti Order. Sometimes, referred to as Roving Ambassadors for Pakistan. Sabri Brothers are led by the soaring voices of the late Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri, whose periodic refrain of 'Allah' between songs has become a Sabri signature, and his younger brother Haji Maqbool Sabri.[1][2] They were the first exponents of Qawwali to the West, when they performed at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1975.[3] Many consider the Sabris instrumentally more adventurous, rougher and more soulful than Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's Party, Sabri Brothers has given a number of soulful beautiful Qawwali hits.[4] Whichever, the stature of both in Pakistan is colossal.[1]


  • Original members 1
  • Early life 2
  • Career 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Discography 5
  • References 6

Original members

The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of

Early life

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 Kalyana 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 Bareilly Sharif. 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 Sabri Brothers.


Their first recording, released in 1958 under the EMI Pakistan label, was the Urdu Qawwali, Mera Koi Nahin Hai. Their later hits included Tajdaar-E-Haram (King of the Kaaba, 1975), O Sharabi Chorde Peena (Hey, Alcoholic, Stop Drinking, 1976) and [6]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.[3] 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, Asia and 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.[7] 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."[8] In 1983 they record album Nazre Shah Karim to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Highness Prince Aga Khan,sponsored by Tajico Group. The income of this album was donated to Aga Khan Hospital Karachi.[9] To devote an album entirely to the Persian poetry of Jami, a luminary of the Sufi Tradition, was an ambition he had always cherished. Ghulam Farid Sabri did the recordings of Kalam By Maulana Abdul Rehman Jami in July 1991 at the SFB studios in Berlin, but the CD sadly was not released while he was still alive until in 1995. Thus, ''Jami'' becomes a memorial not only to the Persian poet, but also to the Pakistani "Qawwal."[10] In 1996, they performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, as part of a double-bill with alt-rockers Corner shop.[11] On 17 November 2001 they performed in DOM at ON THE CARPET Oriental Culture Festival.

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.


The Sabri brothers were quite revolutionary as they performed at a diverse array of venues and extensively used mass media to get their music across to thousands of people. This was highly unorthodox as Qawwali music is historically performed only at divine. occasions[12] March 2008 an underpass near Liaquatabad named after Ghulam Farid Sabri.[13] Coke Studio Season 8 give special tribute to Sabri Brothers by Atif Aslam performing all the time hit Tajdar-e-Haram.[14]


  • 1976 Deewani Kawaja Ki Deewani / O Sharabi Chod De Peena (EMI Pakistan)[15]
  • 1978 Kawwali Musicians from Pakistan (Arion)
  • 1979 Music of Pakistan – Qawwali – Live in Concert (Vinyl Lp Record, 1979)[16]
  • 1979 Sabri Brothers Qawwal (EMI Pakistan)[17]
  • 1980 Greatest Qawwali's of Sabri Brothers (EMI Pakistan)[18]
  • 1980 Sabri Brothers in Concert – Vol.1–3 (EMI Pakistan)[19]
  • 1980 Sabri Brothers Live Concert Vol −16 (EMI Pakistan)[20]
  • 1980 Sabri Brothers – Mehfil-E-Programme Vol −17 (EMI Pakistan)[21]
  • 1982 Jhoot Ke Paon Nahin Hain (EMI Pakistan)[22]
  • 1982 Sabri Brothers - Ghulam Farid & Maqbool Sabri(EMI Pakistan)
  • 1982 Maqbool Ahmed Sabri – Urdu Ghazal (His Master's Voice)[23]
  • 1983 New Qawwali's By Sabri Brothers (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1983 Nazr-e-Shah Karim (Qawwali for the Silver Jubilee of His Highness Prince Aga Khan,
  • 1984 Jogan Daata Di (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1985 Hits of Sabri Brothets (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1985 Maqbool Ahmed Sabri – Awargi (CBS)[24][25]
  • 1986 Ya Muhammad Nigahe Karam (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1986 Qawali – The Sabri Brothers [26]
  • 1987 Sur Bahar " Amir Khusro " (EMI Pakistan)[27]
  • 1988 Shan-E-Aulia (EMI Pakistan)[28]
  • 1988 Live at Allah Ditta Hall (UK Tour) [29]
  • 1990 Sabri Brothers New Qawwali's 1990 (EMI Pakistan)[30]
  • 1990 The Music of the Qawwali (Auvidis, UNESCO)
  • 1990 Ya Habib (Real World)
  • 1993 Qawwali Masterworks (Piranha)
  • 1993 Pyar Ke Morr, Vol. 1(Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1994 Shehanshah-e-Qawwali Ki Yaad Mein – Vol.1–2 (EMI Pakistan)[31]
  • Yaron Kisi Katil Se Kabhi (EMI Pakistan)[32]
  • 1994 Savere Savere (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1994 La Elah Ki Boli Bol (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1994–97 Greatest Hits of Sabri Brothers, Vol.1–3 (Sirocco)
  • 1994 Milta Hai Kya Namaz Mein – Live in UK (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1996 Jami (Piranha)
  • 1996 Ya Mustapha (Xenophile)
  • 1996 Ae Mere Hamnasheen (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1996 Khawaja Ki Diwani – Live in Europe 1981 (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1996 Tajdare Haram (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1997 Nazan Hai Jis Pai Husn (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1997 Maikadah – Live in Concert (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1997 Balaghul Ula Bekamalehi (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1998 Hazir Hain (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1998 Qawwali (Nonesuch)
  • 2001 Ya Raematal Lilalmin (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2003 Bindia Lagaon Kabhi (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2003 Jhoole Jhoole Ji Mohammad (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2003 Live In Moscow Diwani (Long Arms Record)[33]
  • 2003 Tasleem 1981 Tour Of America (Royal Tropical Institute)[7]
  • 2005 Jitna Diya Sarkar Ne Mujhko (Oriental Star Agencies)[34]
  • 2005 Mangte Hai Karam Unka (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2007 Ajmer Ko Jana Hai (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2009 Shikva Javab-e-Shikvah (Oriental Star Agencies)[35]
Contributing artist


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  5. ^ The Nation – Obituary
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