Sarod maestro Amjad Ali makes Americans sing to his tune

July 20th, 2008 - 12:08 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 20 (IANS) Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan is on a new mission - to make American students “realise and feel” music as they learn the difference between Indian and European music. To do so “you just make them sing” in India’s good old oral tradition, Amjad Ali Khan told IANS on phone about his interaction with American students at a summer school at New Mexico State University, Albuquerque.

Initially the students were a bit shy as they do a lot of writing and reading of music in the Western tradition. But committed and dedicated to music as they are, Amjad’s American pupils are discovering the “world between writing and reading music”.

“‘Swar’ and ‘laya’, or sound and rhythm, are part of music like one’s heartbeat is an essential element of the rhythm of life,” said the noted musician who would be teaching at Albuquerque until end July.

Amjad said he had always admired and respected great Western musicians like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart and how 150 musicians reading music produce a symphony in harmony. But he wanted to show his students the difference between European and Indian music.

The sarod maestro said he had just penned another new chapter in his life by writing and composing “a sarod concerto almost like symphony”.

Amjad performed the new sarod concerto, which he has named as ‘Samagam’ (fusion), at the St. Magnus Festival in Orkney Islands with the Scottish Chamber orchestra as also in the London Festival last month with David Murphy as conductor.

He also played a duet with a young cellist, who he said “has accepted me as his guru for Indian classical music”.

Amjad’s new sarod concerto will travel all over the world including India between January and March after giving a few concerts in the US.

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