Maestro’s touch

May 27, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 02:01 am IST

Kalashri Foundation presents a festival in memory of the legendary Ustad Amir Khan, highlighting his influence on how Hindustani music is performed and approached.

Ustad Amir Khan, considered the founder of the Indore gharana, was a rare musician whose influence went beyond his immediate circle of disciples and affected the course of Hindustani music, both in performance and thought. His senior disciple, Pandit Tejpal Singh, has dedicated his life to propagating the ustad’s approach to music. Performing in his younger years, and now steadily teaching his compositions, writing books on him and presenting his own disciples — Pandit Tejpal is doing everything, in short, to validate his position as a link between two vastly different generations.

Coming up shortly is a festival in the name of his guru. In selecting musicians to perform at the event, the stress, says Pandit Tejpal, has been on proven excellence in the seniors and potential in the juniors. “My intention is not to make it (a showcase for) only Khan saheb’s style,” he says. Yet, as the veteran points out, “everybody has been influenced, directly or indirectly, by him.”

The festival, titled “Ustad Amir Khan Sangeet Samaroh”, is being organised by the Kalashri Foundation of which Pandit Tejpal Singh is chief patron. This is not the first time he is associated with such a festival, but he strives each time to impart a flavour to the event that marks it out beyond being a series of performances in memory of another performer.

Apart from presenting a range of musicians from young to experienced, the effort is to highlight the practical aspect of Amir Khan’s contribution. On the one hand the audience will get to hear some of the Carnatic ragas that Amir Khan popularised in the Hindustani genre, such as Hamsadhwani, Kalavati and Charukeshi. Also highlighted will be the 14-matra tala Jhumra, which was once the tala of preference for exploring the vilambit or slow khayal but was later overlooked in favour of Ek tala.

Ustad Amir Khan preferred to sing in Jhumra tala. “Ek tala has 12 matras, and this (length of avartan) was not enough for him,” remarks Pandit Tejpal. “He introduced an extra slow tempo in the 14-beat Jhumra.” This tempo suited his singing style which was like an avhaan, an invocation, he says. “His singing was either spiritual or of the mood of viyog, the longing for the human soul for union with the Almighty.” With his choice of a 14-beat slow tala, he tried to match the mood to the execution.

The three-day festival, to be held at the Muktadhara Auditorium in New Delhi’s Gole Market, begins June 2.

The first day features a vocal recital by Naresh Malhotra and a sitar recital by Prateek Chaudhuri. The second evening opens with a vocal recital by Rama Sundar Ranganathan, followed by a violin concert by Anupriya Deotale. The last evening is a triple-billed one, featuring vocalist Manish Trikha, followed by Mandhar Gadgil and concluding with Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, khalifa of the Dilli gharana.

“I’ve attempted to draw people’s attention to his (Khan saheb’s) bandishes,” says Pandit Tejpal, three of whose disciples — Rama, Naresh and Manish — are performing at the Samaroh. Mentioning that his disciples will be presenting ragas dear to Amir Khan, as well as taranas among others of his compositions, Pandit Tejpal adds, “Jog was also a raga Khan saheb loved to sing.”

Since the ustad was an acknowledged open mind, his interests ranged across various genres. Thus he made a contribution to film music also, and Pandit Tejpal says one of the performances may touch on this aspect too.

The “Ustad Amir Khan Sangeet Samaroh” takes place June 2-4 at Muktadhara Auditorium, Gole Market, New Delhi, 6 p.m. daily

His singing was either spiritual or of the mood of viyog, the longing for the human soul for union with the Almighty

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.