A household name to more than a billion people, Indian classical musician Amjad Ali Khan will share the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall stage with his sons Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan on Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m.
As a virtuoso of the 25-stringed sarod, the 68-year-old Amjad Ali Khan is a superstar. Revered for his expressive playing, in his hands the instrument produces a rich palette of overtones mimicking the complex vocal colors and soaring range of the human voice.
Ali Kahn once said, “There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote.”
Prevalent in classical Indian music, the sarod is smaller than the sitar and both have sympathetic stings. The sarod has fewer and produces a leaner, cleaner sound. Unlike the sitar, the sarod has a fretless metal fingerboard and allows the player to accomplish swooping slides between the melody notes. The sarod sound speaks eloquently of the close connections between India, Afghanistan and the Persian world that influenced northern India.
Ali Khan’s sons, who represent the seventh generation of a family of illustrious musicians, were called “coming masters” by The New York Times. Pushing the boundaries of the sarod instrument beyond the traditional classical Indian sound, the ensemble has collaborated with a host of world musicians spanning the range from Dame Evelyn Glennie at the Rhythm Sticks Festival, London to the Derek Trucks Band at the Savannah Music Festival. In 2009, Ali Khan was nominated for a Grammy award in the best traditional world music album category for Ancient Sounds, a joint venture with Iraqi oud soloist Rahim Alhaj.
Ali Khan is a world ambassador of Indian classical music. He is the recipient of the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, the Fukuoka Cultural Grand Prize from the Japanese government, the UNESCO Award, Padma Vibhushan (the second highest Indian civilian award), a UNICEF National Ambassadorship and holds multiple honorary doctorates from universities in the U.K. and India. He has been awarded honorary citizenship in the states of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia andNew Mexico.
Tickets start at $15 and youth 17 and under are only $10. Call the FAC Box Office at 545-2511or visit fineartscenter.com to purchase online or for more ticket information.