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Melodious initiation

Taking inspiration from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the Hindustani classical musician and son of legendary sarod maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan, city-based Rishi Ranjan decided to learn the nuances of Indian classical music to better himself as a musician.

brunch Updated: Apr 29, 2013 09:43 IST
Usmeet Kaur

Taking inspiration from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the Hindustani classical musician and son of legendary sarod maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan, city-based Rishi Ranjan decided to learn the nuances of Indian classical music to better himself as a musician.


Also known as R Ranjan, the 33-year-old shares his journey as a student of music. “Before falling in the tutelage of Ustad Aashish Khan of Senia Maihar gharana, my first formal lessons in classical vocal and instrumental music came from Dr Saroj Ghosh and Pandit Subhash Ghosh,” he says, adding that in 2000, he moved to Mumbai to be trained under guitarists Arshad Ahmed and Chintoo Singh.

“One day, I learnt that tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan were going to perform live in the city, but I did not have the money to buy the concert ticket worth R150. However, my roommates pooled in money and I attended their performance. So overwhelmed was I after seeing the concert, that tears flowed down my eyes. I was 21 then and knew right away that I was to be trained in the Senia Maihar gharana,” says Rishi.

Currently a visiting faculty at the department of Gurmat Sangeet at Punjabi Univeristy, Patiala, Rishi is also the director of a Chandigarh-based Sufi band, Ebadat, that has started performing at Kava, Sector 26, Chandigarh, recently. Rishi has, in the past, collaborated with London-based guitarist and music composer Stuart Masters for a music album, Agam, and is currently working on a Sufi album in collaboration with four other musicians, for which he has penned a track called Sachcha Hai.

Meanwhile, the music enthusiast’s big break in the entertainment industry has been in the yet-to-be-released Punjabi film Sadda Haq, in which he has composed the track, Ek Onkar. “Jassi Jasraj (singer and lyricist of the song) gave me a rough melody to finalise for the film. I had sleepless nights thinking about creating a composition that Punjabi music lovers hadn’t yet heard of. Ek Onkar is a blend of western classical, symphony, opera, Indie-pop and heavy metal. The major instruments used are Sarod, Rabab, guitar and Oud,” he informs.