03 March, 2021

Tied In Notes Of Amiri Todi

Amjad Ali Khan’s recollections of 11 great classical musicians do have well-known details, but his anecdotes are lit up by a sense of ‘ethereality’

Photograph by Fotocorp
Tied In Notes Of Amiri Todi

A discerning sentence in the initial pages goes thus: “I believe in being traditional, not conven­tio­nal”. Amjad Ali Khan then goes on to explain the difference in the long introductory note, and tacitly reiterates it in the subsequent chapters on a dozen exponents of Ind­ian classical music in the 20th century.

While referring to Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the author notes that the Patiala gha­­rana vocalist believed the audience would not appreciate overly long compositions. Much later, in the penultimate chapter—on Kumar Gandharva—Amjad Ali counters a popular notion that the prodigy-turned-icon was a non-conformist. Modernising without losing the sup­erstructure is, to the sarod maestro, defying convention, while upholding tradition. He cites an early 1980s incident as an inst­ance. When Amjad Ali recorded an album of short pieces, he was flayed for the ‘capsules’. To him, the challenge was to distil the essence of a raga in a short time, as “after maybe an hour it was all repetition”. That’s...

More from Sreevalsan Thiyyadi

Latest Magazine

March 08, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section