String cousins make music
By: Dhara Vora
Witness a stringed collaboration between different generations of artists from India and Iraq, as part of Ancient Sounds, that will be performed in the city|
Indian classical instruments have a mesmeric effect when it comes to versatility and the ability to blend with instruments from around the world. The result is without a doubt spell-binding.
Amaan Ali Khan, Rahim AlHaj and Ayaan Ali Khan during a rehearsal
One such Indian-international collaborative effort will take place in the city today, with the performance of Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan on the sarod alongside Grammy Award nominated Iraqi artiste Rahim AlHaj who will be playing the oud (pronounced 'ood').
The oud is an ancient instrument, and remains one of the most popular musical instruments from the Middle East. Its rounded body, made from strips of wood gives it the name oud, which means wood in Arabic. "It is the grandfather of string instruments and has a history that goes back to 5,000 years.
The oud evolved into different instruments in different countries like the Spanish guitar or the rabab in India," says AlHaj. The rabab later evolved to the present-day sarod, "They are stringed cousins!" says Ayaan.
Talking about the ability of sounds from different instruments to gel together, AlHaj elaborates, "The Oud is hollowed and has nylon strings while the sarod's strings are made using metal. Hence, the sound produced by the Sarod is of a higher range and that of the oud is lower. This helps them blend together, beautifully."
Oud player Rahim AlHaj with Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. The two musicians collaborated for the 2009 album Ancient Sounds
Accompanied by Indian and Middle Eastern percussion instruments, the artists will be playing pieces from the Grammy nominated album, Ancient Sounds, that was a collaboration between Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and AlHaj.
"It's a combination of solos, some tracks from the album and some brand new tracks to be performed at the concert," says Ayaan. "Ancient Sounds was an album about ancient melodies.
The music represents peace, love and compassion as opposed to violence and hatred, which is all you find in the world, nowadays. It says that no matter what part of the world you come from, when you contribute music to the world it is a great place to live in," says AlHaj.
We quizzed AlHaj about the experience of performing with younger blood from the same family. He feels that performing with Ustad's sons is like adding a new flavour and colour to the music. "Ancient Sounds is going from the father to the sons and the result from the new generation will be loved," says AlHaj.
"We plan to record a sequel to the album this year while performing around the country," Ayaan summarises.
The music album Ancient Sounds by Rahim AlHaj and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was nominated for a Grammy in the best traditional world music category in 2010.
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