Saturday, February 24, 2018
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The name itself does not need any introduction not only to the world of music but also otherwise.  He is also one of the torch bearers of Indian music world wide.  The book written by him surely is something to cherish and the complimentary CD is the cherry on the cake which comprises of rare recordings of Hafiz Ali playing raag Miyan ki Malhar and Bhairavi and Amjad Ali.  This book could be termed as a biography layered with series of articles.  It is a son’s tribute to his father, filled with anecdotes and old photographs.  Amjad Ali had heard stories of Khan from his mother, Begum Rahat Jahan Khan, Hafiz Ali Khan’s second wife and was himself present on several occasions.  He was born when Khan was 65 being the youngest in the Bangash gharana.  He received the finest training from his father, who was at the peak of his career then.

Although the narration does get repetitive and turns into a semi-autobiography, which isn’t the best way to tell a story but it offers a host of facts and trivia about a legend, of whom not much exists.  The book opens in Gwalior, known to be the Mecca of music.  In a world of musical hierarchies, there were protocols to follow, the tehzeeb was more important than the teaching.  At this point, no amount of detail is too much and the author unsparingly describes it all as to how Khan became a disciple of Ustad Wazir Ali Khan, a descendent of Mian Tansen, how he taught Ustad Allauddin Khan, founder of the Maihar gharana, and was a strict and inflexible teacher who gave us the sarod, in its present form, which is a combination of rabab, chitra veena and surshringar.  For him, it was all about touching the most sublime notes and presenting them in their purest form.  Amjad Ali engages us with the delightful world of ragas and riyaaz, describing how the oral legacy can’t be learnt from books and that sadhana requires one to be at the feet of a guru, to understand the charms of a swara.

As Amjad Ali Khan grows from a child prodigy to an accomplished musician, he expresses an acute sense of responsibility towards his guru and his family's musical legacy, passed on from ancestors who created the sarod. The personal and the professional are intertwined in this book as they are in the authors life. Hisfriendships, relationships, and the milieu in which he has lived and performed, make for a delightful read for anyone who is interested in the classical music and musicians of India.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Amjad Ali Khan is one of the undisputed masters of the music world.  Born to the Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Gharana, Khan gave his first performance at the age of six.  Over the course of his career, the world saw the sarod being given a new and yet timeless interpretation by him.  He has reinvented the technique of sarod playing which today is distinct in its nomenclature. He has won numerous accolades including a Grammy nomination, the CrystalAward by the World Economic Forum and has performed at venues world over like the Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.   Married to Subhalakshmi Khan, his sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, are also very talented and celebrated sarod players.

MY TAKE:  It an intensely personal memoir which brings alive the rich classical music tradition from the early 20th century to the present.  Amjad Ali Khan offers an insiders view of this era, through the life and times of his father, the famous sarod icon, Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan.  He also affords us a glimpse into the deeply held traditions of Indian classical music like the guru-shishya parampara, and the unique ways in which taleem or training is imparted.  It is must read for all with a lineage towards music but also not a bad pick for others and the complimentary CD could really make your day.



AUTHOR:   Amjad Ali Khan

PUBLISHER:  Roli Books


LANGUAGE:  English

PRICE:  Rs. 595

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