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Interview: Ustad Alam Khan

‘Fusion should not tinker with integrity of music’

india Updated: Jan 14, 2012 00:23 IST
Deevakar Anand

After enthralling music lovers worldwide for the past 15 years, Ustad Alam Khan has set his eyes on Gurgaon.

Khan, 29, son and disciple of legendary sarod maestro late Ali Akbar Khan is in the city to perform at a musical evening in Epicentre, on Monday.

Khan teaches at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in San Rafael near San Francisco where he grew up. He developed fondness for Hindustani classical music after he began training at the Maihar Senia Gharana at the age of seven.

A believer in the traditional ‘guru-shishya’ spirit of music learning, the US-based young ustad shares with Hindustan Times, his thoughts on his father’s legacy and relevance of classical music for today's twitter generation.

Did you always want to be a sarod player?

I always wanted to be a musician, thanks to my father’s overwhelming influence on me. I started playing the sarod with him at the age of 16.

Is the music that you like to play any different from your father’s?

Those who have seen my father’s performance often come up to me and say that they hear his music in what I play.

Do you regret that the sarod isn't as popular as other musical instruments?

I don't regret that. Sarod, like every Hindustani instrument, has a unique sound and when it is played on its true notes, it creates a spell of magic and transports one into a different world of peace.

Does today’s Twitter and Facebook generation, which has the urge for instant gratification, connect with forms of music such as sarod?

I agree that today’s youth has become casual with pure music and they like forms which are tinkered and more spruced up. But there are a huge number of takers for classical music among the youth too.

Are you also working on composing some fusion of Hindustani classical and modern music which could appeal to today's youth more?

I believe in fusion that doesn’t tinker with the integrity of music and that respects the ragas. For example, we can’t play with ragas like Darbari and Malkosh whereas ragas like Khamaj and Kafi can be slightly played on lighter notes.