We are not entertainers: Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (Interview)
By Ruchika Kher
Mumbai, Aug 19, Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, whose new album attempts a unique mix of Indian classical and Western orchestra, says he is not an entertainer and likes to perform only for those who respect the art.
“I have performed around the world and one thing is constant everywhere, the audience comprises more youngsters, which is a very good sign. It shows that youth is equally interested in the sarod as compared to other instruments,” Khan told IANS in a telephonic interview from Chennai.
His new album “Sarod Symphony” is unique as it combines the sounds of Indian classical and Western orchestra.
The 64-year-old musician, who was born into a musical family and has been performing internationally since the 1960s, also stressed that he likes performing only for people who respect his art.
“We are not entertainers, we are only available for those who respect our art, culture and tradition,” he said.
“Sarod Symphony” is a presentation of some of Khan’s timeless compositions in a symphony. It is also an attempt to present the magnificence of both styles of music while preserving the identity and purity of the Indian raga and the stately grandeur of Western classical music.
“The effect of the relationship between the sarod and the orchestra is unique. This kind of collaboration has not been done before with a sarod. It’s a mix of both Western and Indian classical music,” Khan said.
The Padma Vibhushan awardee describes the album as being close to his heart because it also includes work of his sons Amaan and Ayaan. The music is arranged and conducted by music arranger Stephen Devassy.
“It was definitely special to do an album with my sons. When three of us play together, it’s the greatest joy for me. It also gives a feeling of a strong family bond and our culture,” said Khan.
The album was released Aug 9 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – something the musician calls an honour.
“The fact that Manmohan Singhji decided to release our album shows that he has so much respect and love for our classical music. We are fortunate to have a prime minister like him, who is so graceful and humble. It was an honour to get the album released through his hands,” he said.
In the past, Khan has come up with albums like “Homage To Mahatma Gandhi”, “Yaara”, “Romancing The Rains”, “Hope” and “Ancient Sounds”.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)