LAHORE – Noted qawwal Maqbool Ahmed Sabri passed away due to heart problem in South Africa on Wednesday. He was 66. He was suffering from heart disease and was under treatment at a hospital there. Maqbool was born on Oct 12, 1945 in Kalyana.
He learnt about music from his father Haji Inayat Sabri and formed a qawwali group when he was just 11 years old alongwith his late brother Ghulam Fareed Sabri. The group came to be known as the Sabri Brothers.
Their first recording was the Urdu qawwali, Mera Koi Nahin Hai that released in 1958. His qawwal group was the first to perfor at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1975. Over the years, 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.
He sung qawwali in a number of languages including Persian, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi.
Maqbool Sabri left four daughters and one son. His family is residing in Lalu Khet area in Karachi. According to family sources, they were making efforts to bring the body back to Pakistan till the filing of this report.
While talking to The Nation on the sad demise, qawwals Sher Ali Khan and Mehr Ali Khan brothers said that he was great performer of qawwal who introduced the art of qawwali all over the world and was the first qawwali performer in the West. They said he was also a great promoter of qawwali who served the art all his life.
They said a number of qawwals followed him in the art of qawwali singing. The vacuum caused by his death could not be filled, they added.
The showbiz circles expressed great sense of sorrow over the demise of the great qawwal. They said he was loyal to the cause of qawwali and lived all his life by serving the art.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the death of renowned Qawwal Maqbool Sabri.