Ustad Amjad Ali Khan And His Sons Come Together For A Concert To Raise Funds

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan And His Sons Come Together For A Concert To Raise Funds

This isn't your typical night out. It's the sort of concert you'd be a fool to miss

Kasmin FernandesUpdated: Saturday, October 21, 2023, 03:04 PM IST
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“Basically, we are all soloists. I played the sarod solo all my life until they (sons Amaan and Ayaan) came to my life. Whether we play solo or as a trio, every concert is special. We never repeat what we play live. Every concert is specially tailored for that particular audience. So, we are looking forward to perform for Kala Ghoda,” said sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saab over a joint Zoom call with his son Ustad Ayaan Ali Bangash. The sarod grandmaster was alluding to a rare spectacle that will occur at the elegant Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai on October 26 at 6 pm. Padma Vibhushan Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saab is bringing his formidable talent, and his sons, Ustads Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, to the stage. The renowned family is coming together for a larger purpose of the Kala Ghoda Association: to preserve and honour the artistic and heritage district of Mumbai.

This isn't your typical night out. It's the sort of concert you'd be a fool to miss. The last time they all played together (along with Ustad saab's grandsons) for the 'Three Generations' concerts, tickets were sold out weeks in advance. Theirs is a musical legacy that has been lovingly passed down through many generations. “Ours is a very ancient family of musicians,” said Ustad saab, adding that their family has a long relationship with the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF). “We are literally celebrating tradition, legacy and the age-old culture of music. We are grateful to NCPA and CSMVS, who have partnered for this concert.”

Ustad Ayaan Ali Bangash said, “Kala Ghoda has such an intense legacy in Mumbai, and we are all there to support it musically. KGAF is an important part of this city; the vibe of Mumbai with Kala Ghoda is incomplete.” He told FPJ that his father will be presenting a sarod solo. The two brothers will then do a duet. He explained their process, “All of us will play together for the finale. Indian classical music is not a written score, so what makes the concert extremely special is that every occasion executes a certain emotion. You might be playing the same piece of music on separate occasions, but it turns out different because the audience inspires you one day, or the city inspires you. A whole lot of other things come in the way of inspiration when you are performing. It is a challenge when you are sitting on stage with your guru who is also your father.”

These wizards of the sarod are masters of spontaneity. Nothing is rehearsed, nothing is planned at their concerts. It all plays out on stage in that very moment. It doesn't mean that they aren't prepared, however. Riyaz continues to be a sacred ritual for every musician in this family. “My sons are fortunate to have an artist as their mother (Subhalakshmi Barooah is a classical Bharatanatyam danseuse herself). I often say that every mother is the first guru of the child. Largely because of her, they have always been responsible about working on their craft and doing riyaz daily,” revealed Ustad saab.

Ustad Ayaan believes there is an element of telepathy that accounts for the spontaneous magic they make on stage. “It's all about vibrations. We aren't always sitting right next to each other or even facing each other. Yet, certain magical moments happen on stage, which are completely unplanned.”

Watch out for his upcoming collaboration with Indian rappers for Coke Studio Bharat and his recent single for Janmashtami called Enchanting Krishna, on which he played with his brother and classical flautist Akshat Sharma. The much-loved family was in Atlanta recently for a concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, one of the top ensembles in the US. “We played three shows of my father's concerto called Samagam there which is a big honour for us. I think my father's concept of the concerto was to showcase two cultures without compromising on the DNAs of both traditions. He is working on many interesting collaborations himself, which will be releasing soon.”

The philosopher-musician that Ustad saab is, he has found a metaphor transcendence in collaborative music. He explained how while signing off: “I've noticed that when musicians play together, the barriers dissolve; they become two creative souls. Sometimes, I am communicating with artists who don't speak my language at all but through the 12 notes of music, we are sitting on stage and playing in front of thousands of people together. That's the power of the 12 notes in connecting people.”

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