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Indian sarod gets a French sync

When a father and a son coincide in their descriptions of one-of-a-kind concerto that would encapsulate the unique sounds of three sarodists of the Bangash gharana, an eminent electronic orchestra and a French symphonic orchestra founded in 1814, you immediately know that it’s a performance that you can’t just miss. As one began to rummage for a metaphor for this distinctive collaboration from the world-renowned Amjad Ali Khan and his younger son Ayaan Ali Khan, the image of ‘a bouquet of flowers’ immediately sprung up.


Ananta opus in performance: Amaan Ali Khan (left), Amjad Ali Khan (centre) and Samuel Jean, the conductor (right) during a performance in New Delhi

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is known for experimentation with sarod as in the past he has performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. In the same vein, both brothers are equally renowned for complementing the sarod with New Age sounds and their repeated collaborations with cellist Matthew Barley.

Music for the years
Pierre Thilloy, the composer of Ananta Opus 195, on the other hand, comments that the discovery of the sounds of Africa, Central Asia and now, India are the orders of his long journey — it started more than fifteen years now – (which) is both the chance, but also very natural and logical. “Symbolically, it maybe a search for myself,” he says. As one quizzes sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on his comfort quotient with the electronic music, he wittily quips, “It is a kind of sound that is filled with energy. One needs to choose the right quantity or else it could cause an electrical shock.” The tête-à-tête eases into serious shades when he talks about how be it the sky, flowers or music; they enable us to express ourselves being a gift of god. His mellow soothing voice almost lilts you to understand his fundamental and almost divine inclination towards melody. He feels that most East-West collaborations are percussion-oriented yet in Ananta Opus harmonious melodies take the center stage.

Family tunes
The composer with over 200 compositions intuitively remarks that his translation of these two diverse heritages was almost like a “certainty…falling from the stars”. Ayaan Ali Khan compliments his father on his enthusiasm for different sounds despite achieving the stature he has on world’s stage. It would be the first time that the father and brother-duo would be performing in Ananta Opus 195, part of the Bonjour India! Festival where they will make music with two French ensembles. As they discipline themselves to the cue of more than 150 people on stage, a proud father looks back at his own parental inheritance of becoming and honing complete musicians that can appreciate and respect the beauty of different traditions of music, be it Tyagraj or Beethoven.

On March 5, 7pm
At Shanmukhananda Auditorium, Sion (E). Tickets First-come-first-serve basis. Available one hour before the event, at the venue itself. Call 24078888 

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