Amjad Ali Khan makes Music in the Park
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was barely six years old when he gave his first recital on sarod. Taught by his father and guru, the great Hafiz Ali Khan of Gwalior, he is the sixth generation of the illustrious Bangash lineage. He is the most illustrious of sarod players of India. He is a pillar of Indian classical music. He has performed all over the world, notably at the Womad festival in Adelaide. He has been felicitated with many honours, the most prestigious being the Padma Vibhushan. He is a composer too, having created many new ragas.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performed at the Nehru Park in Delhi on the 19th November under the ‘Music in Park ‘series organised by Spic Macay. Nehru Park makes for a great venue for an evening event due to all the lush greenery. He was accompanied by Fateh Singh Gangani and Satyajit Talwar on the table. After the first piece he filed his nails and demonstrated how the sarod is played with nails to extract the melody from the strings. He played raga Kedara, an evening raga set to 16 beats. He showed how his father would sing the notes and make him play on the sarod. At that time he was the disciple and showcased what he had learnt. The next composition was a creation of his sons who are his disciples. It was based on raga Bageshwari in 12 and a half beats. His belief that every musician is a composer first was reiterated. The next piece was in raga Shivranjani to which he had added a few more notes. The raga began on a slow and soulful note and ended in fast and happy notes as if two separated lovers had finally met. The performance ended with a piece in raga Kalyan and an Assamese raga. His connect with Assam is through his wife.
Every raga has an ‘aaroh’ (ascent) and an ‘avaroh’ (descent). The rendition begins with slow and low notes and then the notes become faster and higher along with the tabla beats. The ‘jugalbandi’ with tabla creates wonderful music. The notes, when they peak, create ecstasy. It is not only the body which sways to the music but also the soul which finds a direct connect to the Almighty.