Friday, 23 March 2012

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, his sons Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan: Erod, the electronic form of Sarod

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: India gets a new musical instrument in the form of Erod from the family of 
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. Erod is an extension of the Sarod. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s eldest 
son Amaan Ali Khan has developed this news instrument. He has been working towards an 
Electronic Sarod to achieve a new sound for his concerts where there was a “struggle with 
other forms of sound textures”.

“The acoustic Sarod cannot break certain sound barriers at certain experimental concerts 
especially with drums and guitars so this is indeed a dream!” says Amaan Ali Khan. The 
Erod has been designed by Sanjay Sharma, an instrument-maker. Cutting edge design and 
master-luthier craftsmanship are uniquely combined to create a Sarod that offers 
outstanding playability matched with incredible practicality.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan points out that the electronic Sarod helps sound output at concerts. 
“I am happy that Amaan and Ayaan see Erod only as a musical flirtation”. Amaan and Ayaan 
Ali Khan say in spite of their experimental journey, “we are proud to be Indian classical 
musicians”.

The Ustad and his two disciple-sons are all set to enthrall the Hyderabad audience this 
Sunday where music lovers can listen to a sort of “fusion” music. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan 
along with Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan are performing in the city after a gap of 
six years. “You feel the bliss of God,” the Ustad says, adding “even if we three play 
music together, it is fusion music”.

“In Hyderabad, three of us play together. Our concert is in three parts. First Amaan and 
Ayaan will play dual. Secondly, I play solo. In the third part, the three of us play. It 
is a variety and the music lovers will get a joyous feeling,
and the ecstasy of enjoyment, love and unification,” the Sarod maestro explains.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan says Hyderabad has always bestowed immense love and warmth upon them 
at every concert. The city has a beautiful culture and history. It is a confluence of two 
cultures. Hyderabad is full of love, grace and humility and it has a beautiful history of 
music and poetry. His sons add “We really look forward to our performance. It’s always an 
honour to play on stage with our father and guru. It’s a euphoric feeling and a priceless 
privilege. We will be playing traditional ragas and some interesting time cycles”.

Referring to his two sons as the “greatest gift of life”, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan says “they 
are not carbon copies of Amjad Ali Khan. I am thankful to God for bestowing me with Amaan 
and Ayaan. The world has accepted them. Their approach of music is different. Their new 
album “Rang” has given them the identity of their own. I am fortunate to have wife 
Subhalakshmi”.

“We have been very fortunate to have had a certain kind of a grooming where music for us 
wasn’t a profession but a way of life. Today there is talent in abundance but there is a 
lack of consistency. It’s a very long journey and one has to have patience, tolerance and 
perseverance,” adds Amaan and Ayaan.

Asked if he approve the so-called fusion music, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan says, “fusion is a 
confusing word. Collaboration is the better word.” His sons add: “Having been reared on a 
diet of tradition and continuity, it’s difficult to be living in a modern world with 
classic values. Yet, we chose to belong to a system, where oral knowledge is passed on 
from guru to student along with actual music lessons. We are standing at a crossroad.”

Amaan and Ayaan express concern over the “deluge” of pop and so-called fusion, remix 
ragas and experimental music out there. They describe “Rang” as a “special album”. 

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