Parampara – Songs of the Sitar | Sun 23 Sep @ Victoria Theatre
Usman Khan deservedly holds a privileged place in the field of Indian classical music, Sitar playing in particular. Usman Khan’s continuous innovative streak in his musical compositions displays itself in his ability to make the difficult look simple, the emotional seem elegant, and the earthly appear divine. His ability to develop a musical rapport with simple enthusiasts as also with the critical listeners has prompted music critics in India to recognize him as an outstanding musician amongst the great artists of today.
Born in 1940, Usman Khan is the grandson of `Sitar Ratna’ Ustad Rehmat Khan of Dharwad. Usman Khan was initiated into sitar playing by his father Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, who headed faculty of instrumental music at the Karnatak University, Dharwad. This rich heritage has found expression in the Usman Khan of today through the supervision of a teacher-father and rigorous daily practice of fifty years.
A man of few words, Usman Khan has seldom claimed strict adherence to the `Gayaki Anga’ or `Tant Anga’ the two approaches to string instruments. His style shows a fine blending of the two through his uncanny sense of sur, rich, deep aalap and controlled lyricism.
Usman Khan has performed in most major music centers and music festivals in the country as well as outside the country. He was the chosen sitar player for the `24 hour Raga Session’ held in Paris in April 1985. He was the only instrumentalist from the East to give a full concert at the `International Guitar Festival’ in Marseilles in May 1986. Usman Khan thrilled the music lovers from all over France for 9 hours with his whole night concert in Paris in 1988
During the last decade, Usman Khan has emerged as a gifted sitar teacher attracting students from both amongst Indians and foreigners. Usman Khan was instrumental in setting up a non-profit organization NAAD – an institution dedicated to keep alive the tradition of Indian Classical Music and other traditional art forms. Usman Khan has also been nominated as the International Dean, Hindustani music of Temple of Fine Arts, KL Malaysia. In his capacity as the Dean, Khansab is responsible for design and conduct of all syllabi for the Hindustani section of music, and coach & mentor the senior teachers across all centres of TFA – Coimbatore, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Perth.
As years have passed, Khansahb hasn’t just gotten older; he has aged to perfection. Usman Khan’s sensitivity to the fact that music is essentially divine is reflected in his own words: “Music has its source in the divine. Being a musician allows me to offer my work and my music as a prayer, as contemplation, and meditation. And since I believe that music originates in the divine, it is only right that I offer my music in return to the divine – as a prayer”. Usman Khan offers the naïve listener, the greatest experience of the essence of creativity its depths and eternity. Usman Khan will open to you a book of splendors and depths; the more often one listens to him, the more everything seems to be contained within it, from life’s most imperceptible fragrances to the full enormous taste of its heaviest fruits.
Students, family, friends and music lovers of Usman Khan came together to celebrate his 75 years of musical journey that culminated in a 3 day music festival featuring more than 75 dancers from Temple of Fine Arts (Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and India) who expressed their gratitude in the form of traditional and contemporary dances.