‘A new raga is like a newborn’

Fusion: Artist Paresh Maity (centre), a Padma Shri awardee, will be painting live on stage while the Bangash siblings play classical music compositions.

Fusion: Artist Paresh Maity (centre), a Padma Shri awardee, will be painting live on stage while the Bangash siblings play classical music compositions.  

Sarod maestros to perform with celebrated artist Paresh Maity

In a coming together of the visual and performing arts, young sarod maestros, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash from the Senia Bangash gharana, will perform on Sunday evening in a concert, ‘Strokes and Strings’, with celebrated artist Paresh Maity.

Maity, a Padma Shri awardee, will be painting live on stage while the Bangash siblings play classical music compositions. Ayaan says, “We will choose ragas that give our interpretation of these nine emotions [rasas] which will be executed on canvas by Paresh Maity.”

Musical legacy

The brothers come from a long line of illustrious musicians and are the seventh generation of their gharana. “To be a musician is a blessing, as you are really not answerable to anyone but yourself. For those few hours when you are on stage, you are in a creative frenzy,” says Amaan, adding to which Ayaan emphasises on the fact that being Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s son, is a matter of great honour. “My father’s music, no doubt is the real inspiration but so is his humility, simplicity, and politeness. Almost unreal for a man of his stature.”

Ayaan also talks about their mother’s role in their lives, “Being an artiste who learned from the great Rukmini Devi Arundale, she sacrificed her career for the family.”

Amaan believes that children of this generation should be exposed to music every day. “It is the duty of every parent and school teachers to [discover] creative instincts in every child because it is very healthy for the mind and body of the child to express his creative instincts.” To this Ayaan adds that every human being is born with sound and rhythm. “Some realise this and some don’t. The heartbeat is an indication of rhythm and what we speak; conversation, recitation, chanting, and singing is all part of music,” he says.

While talking about their grandfather Ustaad Hafiz Ali Khan, Amaan emphasises the fact that his grandfather was initiated in the tradition of the Senia Gharana by the direct descendant of the line of Swami Haridas and Miyan Tansen and also talked about him learning from the legendary Ustad Wazir Khan of Rampur. “Ustad Wazir Khan broke the convention of teaching only family members and accepted him as his disciple. Now a disciple of the Tansen School, Haafiz Ali Khan started flowering under his ustad’s teaching. Haafiz Ali Khan’s strict adherence to dhrupad made the veterans of his time look at him with admiration,” says Ayaan.

Creative process

On composing music, Amaan compares a new raga to a baby. He believes that a raga is much more than a mere scale, it is a living identity. “When a child is conceived, in this case a raga invoked, how can you not accept the raga? The raga would ask me, ‘Do you know me?’ and if you say I don’t, then you have to give it a name and hence the raga becomes new, just like an offspring,” he says.

Amaan feels that there is no logical explanation as to why a raga is seasonal or why certain ragas with the same combination of notes are played at different times of the day. “Morning ragas have a certain calmness and depth that an artiste is able to achieve with the choice of ragas, that we have in our treasury of music. But it is much more than a scale which also refers to the set of notes. A raga has distinctive features with prominent notes, combinations of notes and timings of the day and season.”

For now, Ayaan is looking forward to performing with his father’s sarod concerto with Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra later this year. “I am also excited about the release of our album, String for Peace, with the multiple Grammy award-winner classical guitarist Sharon Isbin,” he concludes.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 2:02:32 AM |

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