A musician should strike notes with other systems: Amjad Ali

HYDERABAD, Mar 2:  He has scaled many peaks in the world of music in his nearly six-decade-long career and now Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan feels he has become a ‘complete musician’.

The ‘Sarod Samrat’ as he is fondly called by music aficionados, recalls his father Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan’s exhortation that ‘one has to become a complete musician’ and that was the driving spirit behind his collaboration with European music.

“Actually, I am the only musician who took time to collaborate with European music because of my long legacy and lineage. I was a bit reluctant to collaborate. But then, I often remembered my father who used to say ‘one has to become a complete musician’. A complete musician should, according to him and what I realise today, see good points in other music systems also,” the Ustad told here.

“It’s very easy to think your music is great… Indian music is great. But finally, the whole creation of music is in seven notes… All over the world. These seven notes have connected all musicians of the world. We are like one family and through music we are connected to the world. We are all performing and presenting our music to the world and we would like the world to be more peaceful and harmonious,” the sarod maestro added.

Amjad Ali Khan said in 2011 he had collaborated with Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the first time and had gone to Scotland.

“They wanted me to compose for their symphony. Historically, that was the first sarod concerto. We recorded in the church and the orchestra was named Samagam. World Village, the world’s largest recording company, produced it,” he recalled.

Khan is currently part of a tour ‘Ananta Opus 195’, which is a celebration of the Festival of France and so far performed in New Delhi and Hyderabad along with his sons Amaan and Ayaan.

“This project is like a tribute to France… It’s a friendship concert because France is celebrating their achievements. Young music composer Pierre Thilloy has composed and wanted the three of us – me, Amaan and Ayaan – to participate. It’s like making a combined painting,” the Ustad said about Ananta, a concerto (French for concert) for sarod, symphonic and electronic orchestra.

About 40-50 musicians from France came here for the concerto who, according to the sarod legend, were “committed, dedicated”.

“It’s a new experience, new journey, new relationship. Why I collaborated… It’s a tribute to France… My admiration to France. It is the only country, I feel, that has honoured maximum artists in the world. It has been honouring many artists from India. It’s a great honour and pleasure for us to be part of this,” Amjad Ali Khan, who was conferred the “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters” by the French government in 2003, observed.

Ananta concerto would be held next in Ahmedabad and Mumbai on March 3 and 5.

Talking about music and peace, the sarod maestro said, “(Terror) Incidents like 9/11… Any mishaps make us feel very very sad and upset, because we boast about education.”

“But even today education could not create kindness and compassion in human beings. There is something wrong with the education system of the whole world, not only India. The young children… Instead of forcing them into science or maths…At least one period should be dedicated without books where the teacher makes them feel the value of love, value of kindness and compassion. Unfortunately, no teacher has that time,” he lamented.

On the ‘fusion music’, the Ustad observed, “To become a classical musician, you need a lot of sadhana, lot of commitment and dedication. Today, unfortunately, youngsters are looking for shortcuts in life. Log shortcut ki sadhana kar rahe hai (People are practicing shortcuts). Music doesn’t become appealing through shortcuts. Music has to be appealing.”

He, however, felt there was nothing wrong in fusion music. “People who have no patience to do riyaz, sadhana… they have created lots of bands today…Lots of youngsters. In India there are lots of bands, lots of groups and lots of fusion ventures. My good wishes are with them.”

Amjad Ali Khan asserted that classical music “will always be there because it’s the base”.

“It’s like the sun. It always has rays. So, any other genre of music is like suryakiran… Rays of the sun. So we are not worried. It’s a passing phase, whatever is happening in the world… In India,” he noted.

Continuing on the note, Khan remarked that people in India have become “obsessed” with Bollywood, whereas in Hollywood and western world, “they have balanced”.

“They still listen to Beethoven, they are still going to listen to opera and Hollywood is there and was there. But Hollywood is not as aggressive as Bollywood. Anyways, I hope every musician, every artist is comfortable. I wish every young musician realises his goal of life,” he added. (PTI)


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