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‘India has been winning Grammys since the ’60s’

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan reacts exultantly to his nomination from London...

music Updated: Dec 10, 2009 20:13 IST
Nikhil Taneja

What was your first reaction to the Grammy nomination?

I was in Kolkata for a concert and I got a call from my sons, Amaan and Ayaan, who were performing in Bangalore that day. They’d got a mail from UR Music in the U Scongratulating Rahim Alhaj and me. My first reaction was to thank god and my parents for their blessings.

Hasn’t the nomination come a little late in the day?

An honour is an honour, besides these things only happen only when they are destined to. The track is a fusion of the sarod and the oud.

Is fusion the way forward for Indian classical music?

I wouldn’t call this album a fusion but a confluence and a collaboration. And collaborations always help any instrument to become more mainstream. My recent sarod concerto performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Taipie Chinese Orchestra both took sarod to a different dimension. The west has for a long time been fascinated with Indian instruments like the sitar and the tabla.

Why haven’t they woken up to the magic of the sarod as yet?

Nothing happens till the time is right. But I do hear the sarod now in different spaces like new age, lounge and even electronica. Many young sarod players are coming up, both in India and abroad, and that is encouraging.

How would you rate the competition and your chances?

I haven’t heard the other albums yet but I’m sure that they must be wonderful to have been short-listed. The most deserving candidate will receive the honour. India’s chances this year are very bright. I hope all three of us nominated do the country proud! Indian music has taken the west by storm since the Oscars and the triumph of Jai Ho.

Do you think we will now get regular nominations at the Grammy Awards ?

Indian classical music has been getting nominations and winning Grammys since the ‘60s. The mainstream popularity of Indian fashion and film has only added to the appeal of Indian music. Ours is a country larger-than-life in its contributions and magnitude. As an Indian, I feel so proud and happy to put my country on the world map.