For the first time in their long-standing career, sarod maestros Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan will perform at a space like Blue Frog. “In all these years, we have only played at concert halls or open air venues in very historic settings like the Bandra Fort or Gateway of India,” says 33 year-old Ayaan Ali Khan, the younger of the two brothers. This is exactly why playing at this Mumbai venue is so exciting for them.
The brothers, who began their solo careers at the age of eight, now often play together. Says Khan, “We are friends first and then brothers, so it’s a piece of cake to play together. Till date we have never rehearsed or practised together. It’s all vibrations and intuition.”
The duo sometimes accompanies the sarod with vocals as well. They usually reserve their singing for experimental works and projects, but lucky audiences at Blue Frog on July 31 can expect a dose of their vocal chords too. “We will sing in some of the pieces at the concert. We have a very interesting line-up that includes the fantastic Gino Banks, Vijay Ghate and a few more guest artistes,” says Khan.
The duo recently launched a Sufi album Rang: Colours of Sufism. “The response to that album was overwhelming,” Khan tells us, adding that Amitabh Bachchan also blogged about it. “That was such an honour!”
In the past, the two have worked on some very interesting crossover projects. They’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with guitarist Derek Trucks, percussionist Lady Evelyn Glennie, the National Youth Orchestra of UK, Grammy nominated oud player Rahim Alhaj and more. “But we’ve always been clear about being known as classical musicians,” asserts Khan.
Ask him what’s up next and he’s a bit tight-lipped. “Currently we are working on a project with a fantastic hammered dulcimer player from the US. Work is on on that project. Watch this space,” is all he is prepared to reveal.
In the meantime, Mumbai can look forward to a live performance from them. Concludes Khan, “We expect an audience that loves music without being intimidated by the genre. Mumbai anyway is a hub for one of India’s best concert audiences, so we really look forward to playing here.”