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The Sabri Brothers (Punjabi, Urdu: صابری برادران‎) is a music band from Pakistan performing Sufi qawwali music, closely connected to the Chishti Order.Some times refers as Roving ambassador of Pakistan. The band was initially founded and led by Ghulam Farid Sabri and his brother Maqbool Ahmed Sabri. After The Death Of Ghulam Farid, Maqbool Sabri Led The Band With His Name. After the brother's death in 2011, their mission was led by Ghulam Farid's son Amjad Fareed Sabri who continued the qawwali tradition.

The Sabri Brothers
The Original Sabri Brothers.jpg
Background information
Origin Kalyana, East Punjab
Genres Qawwali
Years active 1956–1994
Members Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri
(1975 – present)
Past members Ghulam Farid Sabri (1930–94)
Kamal Sabri (1935-2001)
Maqbool Ahmed Sabri (1945–2011)
Amjad Fareed Sabri (1976-2016)

The Sabri Brothers performed at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1975.[1] Sabri Brothers have given a number of soulful qawwali performances globally, and their stature in the Sub-continent is colossal.

On 22 June 2016, Amjad Fareed Sabri was killed in a targeted killing in Karachi.


Original membersEdit

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;[2] (lead vocals, harmonium),
  • Kamal Sabri (b. 1935 - d. 2001; vocals, swarmandal)[3]
  • Amjad Fareed Sabri (Chorus (until his father's death), lead vocals, harmonium in his own band, assassinated on June 22, 2016)
  • 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),
  • Mohammed Anwar (nal, tabla).

Early lifeEdit

The Sabri brothers learned music from their father, Inayat Hussain Sabri. He trained his sons in qawwali and Indian classical music. Their first public performance was at the annual Urs festival of Mubarak Shah in Kalyana in 1946. The family moved from Kalyana 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.


Early careerEdit

Their first recording, released in 1961[4] under the EMI Pakistan label, was the Urdu qawwali titled Mera Koi Nahin Hai Teray Siwa(There Is No One But You), which was later appeared in the 1965 Pakistani film Ishq-e-Habib. Due to a government policy of encouraging folk arts through television and radio in 1967, being the dominant artists in qawwali, they were approached to record qawwalis for television and radio.


1970's witnessed the rise of the Sabri Brothers. They are the only qawwali troupe which has a "first class" status on the Pakistan Television Corporation.

In 1970 the Government of Pakistan sent them to Nepal as representatives for a royal wedding. They released their later hits included Tajdaar-E-Haram (King of the Kaaba, 1975), O Sharabi Chorr De Peena (Hey, Alcoholic, Stop Drinking, 1976), Kawaja Ki Deewani (Lover of Khawaja, 1976) and Balaghal Ula Be Kamalehi (Reaching the Highest Heights Through Perfection, 1977).[5]

Sabri Brothers In South Africa 1978

Popular film and recording artists in Pakistan, their several qawwalis featured in films.Mohabbat Karne Walo Hum Mohabbat Iss Ko Kehtain Hain in the 1970 film Chand Suraj, Aaye Hain Tere Dar Pe Tau Kucch Lay Ke Jaen Gay in the 1972 film Ilzam, Bhar Do Johli Meri Ya Muhammad in the 1975 film Bin Badal Barsaat, Bawa Farid Sarkar in the 1974 film Sasta Khoon Mehnga Pani,[6] Teri Nazr-e-Karam Ka Sahara Milay in the 1976 film Sachaii and Aftab-e-Risalat in the 1977 Indian film Sultan-e-Hind.

The Sabri Brothers troupe has toured Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They performed at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1975. They again performed in Carneige Hall in 1978.[7] In 1975 they performed in the United States and Canada under the auspices of The Performing Arts Program of The Asia Society.

In 1972, they performed charity concert for the construction of Pakistani Children School in Abu Dhabi. In the same year, with the co-operation of Star Agencies they performed in various cities of England such as London, Bradford, Birmingham and Manchester which become very popular. The amount of these programs donated to Earthquake relief fund Pakistan.

In 1975, Ahmed Suleiman co-operated to arrange concert in Durban, South Africa. Inspired with these program Chevrolet Company gifted an automatic car to Brothers, which they give to leader of south Africa for poor children.

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 1980, they performed charity concert for the construction of Karachi School of Art which was later released in album Sabri Brothers Live In Concert. In June 1981, they performed at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam which was released in album Tasleem.[9] In 1982 they appeared in film Sahaaray with their famous qawwali Tajdar-e-Haram. The same year they performed in Midway Hotel for the construction of Al Shifa Hosiptal near Karachi Airport.

In 1983 they recorded the 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] On August 03, 1985, a stupendous program was held at Sheraton Hotel, Karachi and collect Rs. 141,500/- for Bangladesh Flood Fund. The fund was given to President of Pakistan General Zia ul Haq on September 01, at State Guest House.

In 1985, Maqbool Sabri record in front of live audience in karachi their first solo album for Ghazals Awargi. The album was a collection of light playful compositions ranging from teasing to daring by poet Farhat Shahzad.[11] In 1988 EMI Pakistan released another ghazal album Tere Ghungroo Toot Gaye to Kiya which was a hit. In the same year he recorded qawwali for music director Anu Malik in the Indian Movie Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati which was picturesque on Mithun Chakraborty.[12]

In 1989 the performed in WOMAD festival at UK and France which was released as the album Ya Habib in 1990. Ya Habib consists of four long songs, each combining powerful, sensitive, often improvised vocals with rhythmic percussion, thudding tabla and mesmeric harmonium drones. The Sabri Brothers make music as a conduit for divine expression, summed up in the vision of the Beloved evoked when singing Nudrat's (sic) 'Kali Kamaliya Wale':

"The wish that keeps me alive is you/The world that we live in is you/O the beloved one of Allah, you have come to show us the way/The right way/The way of peace, of love, of humanity/The way to God."

In 1989 and 1992 they performed at various South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation festivals.[13]


In 1992 they performed at The Hope Theater in Melbourne, Australia. Their tour of Australia was sponsored by Friends of the University of Wollongong. The Friends believe that in sponsoring this tour they are not only providing a rare treat to those from Pakistan, India and Middle East who are familiar with this art form, but are also providing an opportunity for others to share this experience.[14] In the same year they performed at fundraiser in Dubai to benefit Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.[15]

To devote an album entirely to the Persian poetry of Jami, a luminary of the Sufi Tradition, was an ambition of Ghulam Farid Sabri which he had always cherished. He did the recordings in July 1991 at the SFB studios in Berlin, but the CD sadly was not released while he was still alive. Thus, it becomes a memorial not only to the Persian poet, but also to the Pakistani "Qawwal."

After the death of Ghulam Farid Sabri in 1994, the group was led by Maqbool Ahmed Sabri. The same year they performed at New Jazz Festival Moers, Germany, [16] In 1996, they performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music- Next Wave Festival, as part of a double-bill with alternate-rockers Corner Shop and released a live album Ya Mustapha of their performance.[17] Took part in the event ‘Voices of God’ held at Marrakesh, Morocco in May 1999 which featured 100 spiritual singers, musicians and dancers from 12 cultures.

2000 onwardsEdit

They performed at Musica Sacra International Mktoberdorf in the year 2000 at Germany.[18] They recorded live in DOM at On The Carpet Oriental Culture Festival on November 17th, 2001 in Moscow which was later released in 2003. After the death of Maqbool Sabri in 2011, the group is led by Mehmood Sabri.


They were well versed in singing in Persian language and had a great affinity to the musical rendition of Hazrat Amir Khusrow’s kalaam (poetry).[19]

In March 2008 an underpass near Liaquatabad was named after Ghulam Farid Sabri.[20] Coke Studio Season 8 paid a special tribute to the Sabri Brothers by Atif Aslam performing the all-time hit Tajdar-e-Haram.[21]

Bhar do Jholi meri ya Muhammad was featured in Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Indian movie) sung by Adnan Sami Khan with little changes.

Awards and recognitionEdit


Concert filmsEdit

  • Live in England – Vol 1
  • Live in England – Vol 2
  • Live in England – Vol 3
  • Live in England – Vol 4
  • Live at Allah Ditta Hall Birmingham Vol 1
  • Live at Allah Ditta Hall Birmingham Vol 2
  • Qawali – The Sabri Brothers (Live At Shrine Of Abdullah Shah Ghazi)[24]


  • 1972 Ghulam Farid Maqbool Sabri Qawal And Party* – Aaye Ri More Angna Moinud Din (Angel Records)[25]
  • 1976 Deewani Kawaja Ki Deewani / O Sharabi Chod De Peena (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1977 Sabri Brothers – Aaye Hain Woh (Shalimar Recording Company Limited)[26]
  • 1978 Qaw Allis Vol. 6 – Gulam Shabri Live Recording In S. Africa (Ashirwad)[27]
  • 1978 Kawwali Musicians from Pakistan (Arion)
  • 1979 Music of Pakistan – Qawwali – Live in Concert (Vinyl LP Record, 1979)
  • 1979 Sabri Brothers Qawwal (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1979 Shikwa Jawab Shikwa (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1980 Greatest Qawwali's of Sabri Brothers (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1980 Sabri Brothers in Concert – Vol.1–3 (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1980 Sabri Brothers Live Concert Vol −16 (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1980 Sabri Brothers – Mehfil-E-Programme Vol −17 (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1982 Jhoot Ke Paon Nahin Hain (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1982 Sabri Brothers – Ghulam Farid & Maqbool Sabri(EMI Pakistan)
  • 1982 Maqbool Ahmed Sabri – Urdu Ghazal (His Master's Voice)
  • 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 Awargi (CBS)
  • 1986 Ya Muhammad Nigahe Karam (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1987 Sur Bahar " Amir Khusro " (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1988 Shan-E-Aulia (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1988 Live at Allah Ditta Hall (UK Tour)
  • 1990 Sabri Brothers New Qawwali's 1990 (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1990 The Music of the Qawwali (Auvidis, UNESCO)
  • 1990 Ya Habib (Real World)
  • 1993 Qawwali Masterworks (Piranha)
  • 1993 Doolha Heryale (Shalimar Recording Company)[28]
  • 1993 Pyar Ke Morr, Vol. 1(Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 1993 La Ilah Ki Boli Bol (EMI Pakistan)
  • 1994 Shehanshah-e-Qawwali Ki Yaad Mein – Vol.1–2 (EMI Pakistan)
  • Yaron Kisi Katil Se Kabhi (EMI Pakistan)
  • 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)
  • 2003 Tasleem 1981 Tour Of America (Royal Tropical Institute)
  • 2004 Rabb E Akbar
  • 2005 Jitna Diya Sarkar Ne Mujhko (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2005 Mangte Hai Karam Unka (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2007 Ajmer Ko Jana Hai (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2007 Ya Raematal Lilalmin (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2007 Posheeda Posheeda – Live in Concert UK (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2007 Piya Ghar Aya (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2009 Shikva Javab-e-Shikvah (Oriental Star Agencies)
  • 2014 Paisa Bolta Hai (Deeni Cassette)
Contributing artist


  1. ^ Chris Menist (12 October 2011). "Maqbool Sabri obituary | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  2. ^ The Nation – Obituary
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  5. ^ "Crazy diamonds – V – Blogs". Dawn.Com. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
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  8. ^ "Qawwali: Sufi Music of Pakistan | Nonesuch Records". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "KIT Publication: Tasleem". Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
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  17. ^ JON PARELESPublished: 5 November 1996 (5 November 1996). "Scaling Mystic Heights on a Driving Sufi Beat – New York Times". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
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  19. ^ Amjad Sabri laid to rest in Karachi
  20. ^ "New names for three underpasses". Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. March 31, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  21. ^ Fatima, Sana (September 14, 2015). "Coke Studio has hit home in the first four episodes". NawaiWaqt Group. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  22. ^ Obituary and Pride of Performance Award info for Maqbool Ahmed Sabri on The Express Tribune newspaper, Published 24 Sep 2011, Retrieved 11 April 2016
  23. ^ "Who's Who: Music in Pakistan – Sheikh, M. A. – Google Books". 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  24. ^ "Qawali-The-Sabri-Brothers - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
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