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Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan, Ayaan Ali Khan (sarods)

Satyajit Talwalkar (tabla)

Wigmore Hall London, 8 April 2010


A few days after the Darbar Festival at Kings Place, a decently filled Wigmore Hall gave Amjad Ali Khan a warm welcome to celebrate a career of over fifty years.

A brief introduction to the sarod was given from the stage, before extensive tuning led into a period of finding his way into the improvised material for each of the evening’s four Ragas (two evening, two nighttime).

Khan’s fingerwork was nimble, and although his train of improvised musical thought sounded meandering to untutored ears, the result was pleasing enough, subtly amplified to project the sound into the hall. . A crisp foil was provided throughout by Talwalkar’s tabla playing, at its most involving and effective when at the height of rhythmic and dynamic complexity.


Khan’s sons joined the proceedings in the second half to form a trio, then, with tabla, a quartet of performers. In the final rag the amplification of the instruments worked to the detriment of the experience, with the sound somewhat cloying. Here I would have liked to experience the instruments unamplified, even briefly, to get a truer sense of their individual tones and timbres.


Evan Dickerson

Reviews e.g.The Guardian, 2005: What is most remarkable about Amjad Ali Khan is that he is not better known in the west. The Festival Hall was rightly packed, but the audience were mostly Indian: at the start of the second half he left the stage so that his two sons, Amaan and Ayaan, could show off their sarod skills. Then he returned to put them through their paces, making them match his ever more complex musical phrases in a wild and suddenly deafening climax.


See also Darbar Festival 2-4 April 2010