Amjad Ali Khan: five must watch performances from the sarod master

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 15:33

Described by The Guardian as ‘the finest living exponent of the sarod’, Amjad Ali Khan’s distinguished musical career spans more than six decades. A virtuoso in the truest sense, Khan is widely credited with reinventing how the sarod is played, and his unmistakable talent has graced some of the most famous stages and concert halls on the planet.

On Tuesday 30 April, 2019, Khan joined us at Southbank Centre for a special performance alongside his sons – and celebrated sarod players in their own right – Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. In anticipation of that concert we took a look back at a quintet of memorable performances from the sarod master.

Khan’s 2019 concert wasn't his first Southbank Centre appearance, indeed it was only a few years since we had last seen him. In September 2016 Khan joined us as part of Darbar festival to give this remarkable and entertaining performance alongside tabla players Kumar Bose and Anindo Chatterjee. This video from the festival really shows off the musicians’ dexterity and brilliance in a fantastic recital come musical dual.

Amjad Ali Khan | Raag Megh & Miyan ki Malhar | Music of India


In 2014 Khan was invited to give a performance at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. Joined by his sons Amaan and Ayaan and the noted tabla player Satyajit Talwalkar, Khan chose to perform his ‘Raga for Peace’ for the packed auditorium, a composition which showcases both his sarod and vocal skills.

Amjad Ali Khan "Raga for peace" 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Concert


Throughout his many years of performing Khan has forged his own diacritic style of sarod-playing, one noted for his clear and fast ekhara taans. These distinctive rhythms can be enjoyed in this 2008 recording from a performance given in Germany’s Kölner Philharmonie. Though the camera quality of this clip isn’t the best there’s no disguising the incredible sound of AKhan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan on the sarod, accompanied here by tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee and Stephanie Bosch on tampura.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan - Master of Sarod-Live in Cologne


On 15 August, India celebrates its Independence Day, marking the day in 1947 that modern day India gained independence from British rule. As part of the 2018 celebrations, the telecommunications company Airtel commissioned Khan to record a very special version of the country’s national anthem. Joined once again by his sons Amaan and Ayaan, the trio performed this beautiful version of the anthem specially arranged by Sawan Dutta.

EXCLUSIVE: National Anthem by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan & Ayaan Ali Bangash


2018 also saw Khan return to Oslo for a series of performances including this intimate concert in the NRK Radio Concert Hall. Joined once again by Tanmoy Bose on tabla, Khan’s recital included this performance of Ekla Cholo, composed by Rabindranath Tagore, in which his playing shows off a delicateness to the sarod that’s not always showcased in concert performance.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan I Ekla Cholo I Live Concert At NRK Radio Concert Hall I Sarod Records



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