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Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan Thrills Boston

Pankaj Shah

On Saturday, July 21st we were privileged to have Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan share his musical prowess with us in a music concert at Hopkinton. Ustad ji is the Khalifa (Head) of Dilli Gharana of Hindustani Classical music tradition that was started by Hazrat Amir Khusro back in the 13th century.

Ustad Khan sahib opened the concert with Raag Jaunpuri – a morning Raaga of Asavari Thaat, performed on vilambit laya ek-taal, Madhya laya teen taal accompanied by Rajesh Pai on Tabla and Dilip Acharya on Harmonium. According to Khan sahib, Raag Jaunpuri was the invention of King of Jaunpur – Sultan Hussain Sharqui. This is a very melodious Raaga. There is a beautiful usage of andolit* Dhaivat in this Raaga (*with lachao and ghulao).

Then Khaan sahib presented a khayal in Gaud Sarang – “Pio pal na lagi mori ankhiyan” a traditional bandish, on the special request of master Tarang Saluja in the audience, who is himself a student of Hindustani Classical. This was rendered in teentaal performed by Rajesh Pai on Tabla.

This was followed by a request for Mia-ki-Malhar. Khan sahib shared with the audience that to do justice to Mia-ki-Malhar – which is a very vistrit (extended Raaga with a wide expanse) we need a lot of time to perform this raga. You potentially need a performance dedicated, 1.5 to 2 hours for this raaga to bring out the beauty of this raga, that was composed by the great Miyan Taansen.

Khan sahib performed several Malhar variations. He started with Megh Malhar “Garaj Ghataghan”. This is a bandish composed by Niyamat Khan Sadarang, who was a court musician of Mohammad Shah Rangeele, the King of Delhi. This is another traditional Raaga of the Hindustani Classical music with beautiful classification of rhythmic patterns. This was performed on Jhaptaal on Tabla by Rajesh Pai.

Then Khan sahib moved on to Surdasi Malhar, which is also known as Sur Malhar. “Garjat Aaye Badarva” also composed by Miyan Niyamat Khan Sadarang. This was performed on Aada Chautaal (14 beats) performed on Tabla by Amol Khanapurkar.

There was a request for raag Gaud Malhar by Sardar Sarbpreet Singh Ji. Khaan sahib explained about two Raagas – Gaud Malhar and Gaund Malhar. He sang the Gaud Malhar which is a very old traditional Indian Raaga of 8th Century AD. Khan Saheb performed a bandish of Miyan Achpal Khan sahib who was the doyen of Dilli Gharana in 18th Century and the teacher of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. The bol of this bandish were “Jhingar Jhingar Jhingarawa Jhin Kariye ma” in teental on Tabla by Amol Khanapurkar.

Khan sahib concluded the concert with a very beautiful bhajan of Swami Surdas in Surdasi Malhar on the request of Dr Pratibha Shah & Pankaj Shah. This is Khan Saheb’s own composition ‘Mai nahi maakhan khaayo, mayyia mori’. This was beautifully accompanied on Harmonium by Dilip Acharya. Gunjan Parikh accompanied Khan sahib on the taanpura.

This was a three hours non-stop concert in continuous progression and the audience was all along riveted to their places mesmerized by the magic that was being unfolded by Khan Saheb’s mystical voice. Here is what Vandana ji who was in the audience, had to say “The concert was a mesmerizing experience.  Ustadji’s incredible vocal skills and the emotional depth of his singing, plus the evident pleasure he took in the performance and the audience, made it a truly memorable experience.  Thank you!”

We were transported to the annals of the Courts of the Kings of our ancient traditions and when Malhar was unfolded in its varied form and beauty we could feel the wind and smells of rains and monsoon in our minds. This concert would not have been possible without the dedication and support from Sardar Sarbpreet Singh ji who is a true patron of Hindustani Classical music.

To know more log on to www.dilligharana.com
The entire recording of this concert is available at http://www.gurmatsangeetproject.com/pages/iqbalahmedkhan.asp

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Pankaj Shah

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