Sabri Brothers

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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. 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. Whichever, the stature of both in Pakistan is colossal. [4]

Original members[edit]

The Sabri Brothers originally consisted of Ghulam Farid Sabri (b. 1930 in Kalyana, East Punjab – d. 5 April 1994 in Karachi; lead vocals, harmonium), Maqbool Ahmed Sabri (b. 12 October 1945 in Kalyana – d. 21 September 2011 in South Africa;[5] 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).

Early life[edit]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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."[9] 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.[10] 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."[11] In 1996, they performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, as part of a double-bill with alt-rockers Corner shop.[12] 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.


  • Deewani Kawaja Ki Deewani / O Sharabi Chod De Peena (EMI Pakistan, 1976)[13]
  • Sabri Brothers Qawwal (EMI Pakistan, 1979)[14]
  • Greatest Qawwali's of Sabri Brothers (EMI Pakistan 1980)[15]
  • Sabri Brothers in Concert – Vol.1–3 (EMI Pakistan 1980)[16]
  • Sabri Brothers Live Concert Vol −16 (EMI Pakistan 1980)[17]
  • Sabri Brothers – Mehfil-E-Programme Vol −17 (EMI Pakistan 1980)[18]
  • Jhoot Ke Paon Nahin Hain (EMI Pakistan 1982)[19]
  • Sabri Brothers - Ghulam Farid & Maqbool Sabri(EMI Pakistan 1982)
  • New Qawwali's By Sabri Brothers (EMI Pakistan 1983)
  • Jogan Daata Di (EMI Pakistan 1984)
  • Hits of Sabri Brothets (EMI Pakistan 1985)
  • Ya Muhammad Nigahe Karam (EMI Pakistan, 1986)
  • Sur Bahar " Amir Khusro " (EMI Pakistan, 1987)[20]
  • Shan-E-Aulia (EMI Pakistan, 1988)[21]
  • Sabri Brothers New Qawwali's 1990 (EMI Pakistan 1990)[22]
  • Shehanshah-e-Qawwali Ki Yaad Mein – Vol.1–2 (EMI Pakistan 1994)[23]
  • Yaron Kisi Katil Se Kabhi (EMI Pakistan)[24]
  • Nazr-e-Shah Karim (Qawwali for the Silver Jubilee of His Highness Prince Aga Khan, 1983)
  • Live at Allah Ditta Hall (UK Tour 1988) [25]
  • Qawali – The Sabri Brothers (1986) [26]
  • Pyar Ke Morr, Vol. 1(Oriental Star Agencies, 1993)
  • Savere Savere (Oriental Star Agencies, 1994)
  • La Elah Ki Boli Bol (Oriental Star Agencies, 1994)
  • Milta Hai Kya Namaz Mein – Live in UK (Oriental Star Agencies, 1994)
  • Ae Mere Hamnasheen (Oriental Star Agencies, 1996)
  • Khawaja Ki Diwani – Live in Europe 1981 (Oriental Star Agencies, 1996)
  • Tajdare Haram (Oriental Star Agencies, 1996)
  • Nazan Hai Jis Pai Husn (1997)
  • Maikadah – Live in Concert (Oriental Star Agencies, 1997)
  • Balaghul Ula Bekamalehi (Oriental Star Agencies, 1997)
  • Hazir Hain (Oriental Star Agencies, 1998)
  • Ya Raematal Lilalmin (Oriental Star Agencies, 2001)
  • Bindia Lagaon Kabhi (Oriental Star Agencies, 2003)
  • Jhoole Jhoole Ji Mohammad (Oriental Star Agencies, 2003)
  • Jitna Diya Sarkar Ne Mujhko (Oriental Star Agencies, 2005)[27]
  • Mangte Hai Karam Unka (Oriental Star Agencies, 2005)
  • Ajmer Ko Jana Hai (Oriental Star Agencies, 2007)
  • Shikva Javab-e-Shikvah (Oriental Star Agencies, 2009)[28]
  • Kawwali Musicians from Pakistan (Arion, 1978)
  • Music of Pakistan – Qawwali – Live in Concert (Vinyl Lp Record, 1979)[29]
  • Maqbool Ahmed Sabri – Urdu Ghazal (His Master's Voice, 1982)[30]
  • Maqbool Ahmed Sabri – Awargi (CBS, 1985)[31][32]
  • The Music of the Qawwali (Auvidis, UNESCO, 1990)
  • Ya Habib (Real World, 1990)
  • Greatest Hits of Sabri Brothers, Vol.1–3 (Sirocco, 1994–97)
  • Qawwali Masterworks (Piranha, 1993)
  • Jami (Piranha, 1996)
  • Ya Mustapha (Xenophile, 1996)
  • Qawwali (Nonesuch, 1998)
  • Live In Moscow Diwani (Long Arms Record, 2003)[33]
  • Tasleem (Royal Tropical Institute, 2003)[34]
Contributing artist


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Chris Menist (12 October 2011). "Maqbool Sabri obituary | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Nation – Obituary
  6. ^
  7. ^ Chris Menist (12 October 2011). "Maqbool Sabri obituary | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "KIT Publication: Tasleem". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Qawwali: Sufi Music of Pakistan | Nonesuch Records". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ piranha. "Piranha MusicScout". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  12. ^ JON PARELESPublished: 5 November 1996 (5 November 1996). "Scaling Mystic Heights on a Driving Sufi Beat – New York Times". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Greatest Qawwali's of Sabri Brothers : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 February 1980. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Sabri Brothers in Concert – Vol-1 : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 March 1980. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Sabri Brothers Live Concert Vol −16 : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 July 1980. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Sabri Brothers – Mehfil-E-Programme Vol −17 : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 October 1980. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Jhoot Ke Paon Nahin Hain : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 September 1982. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Sabri Brothers New Qawwali's 1990 : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 July 1990. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  23. ^,BEE_
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Vol 2.Allah Ditta Hall Birming". 30 October 1988. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Qawali-The-Sabri-Brothers - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "Jogan Daata Di : Sabri Brothers". Rhapsody. 1 March 1984. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Maqbool Ahmed Sabri – Urdu Ghazal (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "Maqbool Ahmed Sabri Composed & Sun By Awargi (2LP Set) – IND 1132 1133 (Ghazals) vinyl lp record". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "Awargi Maqbool Ahmed Sabri Gazals 2 LP Record Bollywood India NM 640". eBay. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  33. ^ "CDDOMA 03011". 17 November 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "KIT Publication: Tasleem". Retrieved 13 November 2013.