The Toe Wiggling Master of the Sarod

The Score

The Score has been running a fairly impressive season with a diverse selection of highly distinguished classical musicians from all over the globe. From the “kings of the classical saxophone” to Catrin Finch, the former official harpist to The Prince of Wales; The Score felt “there can be no better choice to reflect Dubai’s rich diversity and cultural abundance” than to conclude with a globally acclaimed artist, Amjad Ali Khan.

Having won two VIP tickets, thanks to Damian Watson’s “Breakfast Classics” morning show on Abu Dhabi Classic FM, to sit in the front row and get to experience the performance up close was quite a treat! I applied to the competition a total of 3 times and finally got the winning call 2 days before the concert. Been a fan of the radio station ever since I’ve found about it by accident scanning the airwaves for “something better”, more than a year ago, and commenting on their facebook page :

best radio station in the U.A.E.

Like ·  · March 29, 2012 at 1:12pm 

The concert was held at the Madinat Theatre in Souq Madinat Jumeirah to a nearly sold out audience.

Madinat Theatre

Intermission crowd

The two young tabla players, Satyajit Talwalker and Anubrata Chatterjee, arrived on the stage setting it up for the Master and switching on the droned Tanpura. Amjad Ali Khan graced the stage with a warm applause from the keen hearers and proceeded to tuning his sarod and giving a welcoming speech and humbly describing his heritage and uninterrupted lineage of music masters, the Senia Bangash School. He then started describing the sarod and how it’s played by sliding the finger nails along a fretless chrome fingerboard, and broke out into an illustrative solo.

The two tablas joined Amjad’s composition, while he improvised and then took turns with him keeping the composition and they improvise, going faster in tempo in every time cycle.

They presented a few short compositions playing around with the tempos, which according to a friend was “like having sex without foreplay!” Usually the performances go on for much longer times in the build of the compositions and improvisations, but sadly had to adhere to concert timings.

Post intermission, Amjad Ali Khan’s sons and disciples, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, performed a sarod duet, also accompanied by the tablas. They presented two compositions set to slower and faster time cycles.

Each of the brothers were syncing with each of the tabla players, interchanging compositions and improvisation duties.

I felt the tabla players were kind of struggling to accompany the sarodists, with the player on the left of the stage leading more.

Amjad Ali Khan entered the stage afterwards for the finale, a sarod trio! This is the traditional way they play in their Music Room, where they take turns and interact with each other. They performed a Raga from the south Indian system of classical music ( Raga Kirwani, as a YoutTube member pointed out), which I’ve managed to record in full length :

It’s just beautiful to see how they communicated with each other, giving looks and affirming nods, and taking turns synchronizing.

Standing Ovation from the crowd

Standing Ovation from the crowd

While the crowd cried for more, sadly there was none. One of the organizers went on stage to thank the performers and giving them bouquets and presents (excluding the tabla players).

The overall experience will be a memorable one and hopefully will get to enjoy the next season’s performers starting October.

4 thoughts on “The Toe Wiggling Master of the Sarod

  1. Pingback: Dubai 2013: Week 21 | Notes by Nectar

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