The latest album of sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan featuring some of the favourite hymns of Mahatma Gandhi was released here with the acclaimed musician predicting a bright future for Indian classical music.
Titled Remembering Mahatma Gandhi, the album has six songs including Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, Ekla Cholo Re and Vaishnav Jan To renditioned on sarod by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Ayaan and Amaan.
Releasing the album last night, Indian High Commissioner to the UK Kamalesh Sharma said Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has been one of the greatest "ambassadors of Indian culture."
Answering questions from a select gathering at the Nehru Centre, Khan said the future of Indian classical music is "very very bright."
"India has maximum number of musicians - over 100 sarod players and more than 500 tabla artists," he said. But the Ustad lamented that barring the state broadcaster Doordarshan, television channels were contributing little to promote classical music and Indian culture.
"Only Doordarshan is showing classical music and documentaries of great musicians," he said. 62-year-old Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who described Indian music as "the sun which has thousands of rays", is the sixth-generation sarod player in his family and his ancestors have developed and shaped the instrument over several hundred years.
Asked what would be his advice to youngsters who want to take music as their profession, the Ustad said: "I would like to advice them to take up music as their profession if they have enough bank balance. "If you are prepared to struggle, then you are welcome. It is like a dark tunnel with only hope of sun ray some day."
The Ustad has had a successful career spanning over 40 years and continues to be one of the busiest classical musicians in India. He was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.
He won the Fukuoka Asian culture Prize in 2004.