Ustad Shafqat Ali showcased unique aspects of the Sham Chaurasi gharana.

It was an evening steeped in classicism and tradition that could be traced back to the royal courts of Emperor Akbar. The artist was Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan of Pakistan, whose forefathers Mian Chand Khan and Mian Suraj Khan shared the stage with Mian Tansen. The ustad was in Chennai to participate in an event presented by the Amir Khusro Sangeet Academy in association with the Kalakshetra Foundation.

Son of the legendary Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, nephew of Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan and the 11th generation scion of the Sham Chaurasi Gharana, Ustad Shafqat Ali began the evening by exploring Raga Malkauns in vilambit, madhya and dhrut, and ended with a beautiful tarana.

Lilting thumri

A thumri in Bhairavi, ‘Tose Naina Laagere’ set the mood for some love poetry about desire and separation. A thumri composed by his father in Pahari, ‘Sainyan Bina Ghar Suna,’ had a lilting feel. A piece in Yaman ‘Ale Nabi Aulade Ali Ho’ took the audience on an enjoyable trip. Bulleh Shah’s ‘Tere Ishq Nachaiyan’ showcased Ustad Shagqat Ali’s exploration of the 12 swaras; it was an interesting experiment on styles and accents.

Ustad Shafqat Ali’s music synthesised Hindustani classical with the musical tradition of East Punjab.

Accompanying him were Janab Amjad Khan (tabla), Janaki Rajagopalan (harmonium), Abhijit (violin) and Miraj Ahmed (vocal support and tanpura).

On the occasion, the Amir Khusro Sangeet Academy presented the ustad with a Lifetime Achievement Award.