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Ustad Vilyat Khan on DVD

Navras NRDVD 001 & 010
£19.99 each from the Navras Shop

Navras has broken into the DVD market with important releases of the great Sitar innovator, who died in March 2004, a few months after these performances were caught and preserved for future generations on film.

Musical Pointers has recently reviewed a memorial concert to Vilyat Khan in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and a new DVD of a London concert in 2002 was launched. This review should be read in conjunction with those links.

These illustrated above are recommendable purchases for Western music lovers. It is far easier to identify with Indian music and musicians when you see them and can pick up the atmosphere of their concerts.

For many of us, there is a huge divide from the music we hear every day, whether on radio, TV or live, and we make too little of that from a venerable but remote culture, although we live in multi-cultural Britain, whilst appreciating and enjoying the sound of India's exotic instruments, and the singing style upon which all the instrumental music is based, and which its exponents had all studied.

There are explanations in both the booklets with these DVDs, but they are not completely easy for most of us to follow in all their implications as we listen; this is a topic I hope to expand upon in the future.

Each of these DVDs has a lot to recommend it. Different Strokes is a solo recital with virtuoso tabla player, Sabir Khan. The Extras provide a few enjoyable and useful minutes each with some of the greatest exponents of flute, shanai, sarod & santoor and singers, previews of forthcoming releases.

Bequest is notable for the dialogue between Ustad Vilyat Khan and his son Shujaat on Surbahar (bass sitar). Irresistibly exciting, visually as aurally, is their duetting in the Drut Gat, father benignly admiring the sallies of virtuosic invention by the boy he had trained in this dynastic music (photos of their forbears are shown at the top, father and son below). Enjoy and marvel !


© Peter Grahame Woolf