The recent three-day festival hosted by Sursagar Society in memory of Delhi gharana gave the listeners many moments of joy.
In 1941, Ustad Chand Khan established Sursagar Society in the memory of his father Ustad Mamman Khan, an expert sarangi player and vocalist of the Delhi gharana. The Society was named on the instrument crafted by Mamman Khan by making certain changes in sarangi so that it could acquire added capabilities. Ever since, it has been organising music concerts and other activities to promote classical music. After the death of Ustad Chand Khan in 1980, his adopted son and musical heir Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan has been at the helm of the Society’s affairs.
Recently, the Sursagar Society organised a three-day music festival at Aiwan-e-Ghalib auditorium in the city to pay tribute to the memory of Ustad Chand Khan. The second day’s proceedings began with a sarod recital by Ustad Amaan Ali Khan, son and disciple of sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who chose the sombre evening raga Shree as the main raga and presented a neat alap followed by brief jod-jhala sequence. Shree is a hoary and meend-pradhan raga of the Poorvi thaat wherein shadaj, komal rishabh and pancham happen to be very strong notes and the coupling of komal rishabh and pancham lends it a special flavour. Amaan gave a good account of his rigorous training and played a Jhap taal and a Teen taal composition in the same raga.
He also presented two gats in Chau taal and Teen taal respectively in raga Des. He could have come through much better had he not placed unduly great trust in super-fast speed. Being the son of a maestro like Amjad Ali Khan is a heavy burden to carry as comparison are invariably — and sometimes quite unfairly — made. However, one was happy to notice that, while carrying a strong imprint of his father’s unique style, he was trying to attempt something of his own too. Rashid Mustafa Thirakwa provided him good accompaniment on tabla.
Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan came up with a speciality of his legacy in the form of raga Lankeshwari, a creation of his father and guru Ustad Chand Khan. It takes its ingredients from Bageshri and its allied ragas Rageshri and Malgunji, making a charming amalgam in the process. Iqbal Ahmed sang Sadarang’s vilambit bada khayal composition “Dhan-dhan mangal gao” followed by a drut chhota khayal “Un bin mohe kal nahin aaye”, displaying his virtuosity and knowledge and employing all the embellishments of murki, khatka, gamak and so on. He followed it up with Chand Kedar, a raga that he has created to honour his guru’s memory by introducing a few changes in Chandani Kedar. He was accompanied by Mithilesh Jha on tabla, Karim Niazi on harmonium and Murad Ali on Sarangi.
Santoor maestro Bhajan Sopori concluded the evening’s programme with a soulful rendition of raga Jogkauns, a hybrid of Jog and Malkauns created by the late Pandit Jagannath Bua Purohit of the Agra gharana. It has a powerful madhyam and a shuddha nishad that is given more prominence than kosmal nishad. Rafiuddin Sabri ably accompanied him on tabla.