Indian classical music is one of the greatest musical traditions in the world. It originated from the Hindu temples of ancient India and further developed and flourished under the patronage of the Muslim rulers of the Moghul dynasty. It is based on a system of Ragas (or Raags, Indian melodic framework) and Talas (or Taals, it’s rhythmic counterpart, based on cycle of beats), and is performed through sophisticated rules of improvisation. These Ragas are suited to and performed at particular times of the day or night, and comprise various moods and emotions. The music is not written down, and is passed over from one generation to the next through the ‘Guru-Shishya parampara’ (master-pupil tradition). The gharana (musical dynasty) of Wajahat Khan is perhaps the best example of this important tradition, where music has been meticulously maintained and handed down in his family and through students, for many centuries.
The Sarod, made of wood and evolved from the rabab of Afghanistan, is a short-necked plucked stringed- instrument. It is fretless and the finger-board is covered with a shiny metal plate. The resonator is covered with goatskin and the java (plectrum) is made of a coconut shell. Wajahat Khan uses 22 strings in all, and his sarod is carved out of one single piece of teak wood, traced back to the mid-eighteenth century. The Tabla is the main percussion instrument of India. It consists of two hollow drums, the tabla and baya, both covered by goat skin. The tabla is made of wood while the baya is made of metal. They are played with flexible and skilful use of the fingers and palms of both hands. The 4 or 5 stringed Tanpura is a long necked wooden instrument.
Ustad Wajahat Khan is world renowned as a leading sarod virtuoso of India. Son of the legendary sitar maestro Ustad Imrat Khan, he belongs to the 8th generation of his distinguished musical dynasty, which goes back 400 years to the Mughal courts of the 16th century and is responsible for the evolution of sitar and the creation of surbahar. Wajahat Khan started his training at the age of 3, and began his musical career initially as a child prodigy singer. He made his European debut in 1977, and is now a well- established international artist. He has performed to great acclaim in over 30 countries worldwide, at prestigious festivals and venues including the Smithsonian (Washington DC), Kremlin (Moscow), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Theatre du Rond Point (Paris) and the Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms, London). He has accomplished numerous world music collaborations with Western classical music and opera, jazz, flamenco, and rock. As a composer he has also written orchestral and chamber scores for Western as well as Indian instruments – including 3 unique sarod concertos for symphony orchestras and an award winning sarod quintet for string quartets, working with leading world ensembles such as The Halle, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Medici String Quartet. Based in London, he also teaches and lectures and has given concerts and workshop courses with eminent institutions internationally. Wajahat Khan has acquired a faithful and enthusiastic following as one of the most dynamic performers of his generation, with many acclaimed recordings to his credit. His distinctive style, in which the elegance and lyricism of the melodic line are matched by the variety of rhythmic invention, blends a virtuoso technique and an acute musical wit, spanning a full range of feeling and expression. www.wajahatkhan.com
Shahbaz Hussain was born in a family of musicians. He learnt the tabla from the stalwards Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ustad Shaukat Hussain and late Ustad Allah Rakha. He obtained the prestigious Sangeet Visharad degree from Prayag Sangeet Samiti of Allahabad. Shahbaz has emerged as an extremely versatile percussionist holding all the imperative traditional skills of tabla. He has performed internationally and provided accompaniment to many of the leading musicians of Indian classical music.