By Baithak Foundation
Films Division Documentary
Khansaheb's life was as human as it could be though his music was otherworldly. This documentary captures the man and his music as delicately as a leaf catches rain water.
Voice of Tanseen
Based in Emperor Akbar's court the film Baiju Bawra was a completely musical production. Ustad Amir Khan was the voice of Tanseen and Pt. D.V.Paluskar sang all the classical compositions of Baiju.
H.H. The Maharaja Holkar of Indore, G.C.S.I. (1877) by Bourne & ShepherdThe J. Paul Getty Museum
The music of Amir Khan was traditional and yet new and it became a new Gharana. In this interview at the Sangeet Research Academy at Kolkata he explains his thought process. He says I have only worked further on the Khayal form. I have tried removing the inconsistencies.
He says I have tried making it more beautiful. I have tried keeping the Ragas pure and unadulterated. I believe that beauty can be achieved by keeping the purity of the form and structure. Unnecessary breaking of rules is not required.
Megha Mallar Raga, Folio from a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies) (circa 1725-1750) by UnknownLos Angeles County Museum of Art
Amir Khan explains how the Indore Gharana attempts to remove the unnecessary and acrobatic elements from Indian Classical Music to make it a soothing and surreal. He specifically mentions that he has moved away from display of mastery over skills and wishes to touch heart.
Painting Painting (1850)The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Indore Gharana
After listening to Khansaheb one surely observes the distinctive characteristic features of his music. The slow paced aalap, the unhurried nature of compositions and apt use of musical skills come together to create a magnificence never heard before.
Sorathi Ragini, Wife of Megha Mallar Raga, Folio from a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies) (circa 1750) by UnknownLos Angeles County Museum of Art
Experience of Space
Khansaheb creates these beautiful spaces by cascading notes like the gentle morning light. Observe how he moves from note-to-note and word-to-word. His diction is clear and the elaboration of the Raga is unhurried as if he is playing in the space between notes.
Malkos Raga, Folio from a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies) (circa 1675) by UnknownLos Angeles County Museum of Art
Virtuosity and Magnificence
Ustad Amir Khan was definitely gifted by celestial musical sensibilities. However it was not an easy feat for him as he also suffered from laryngitis, a terrible condition that damages voice and breathing mechanism. Despite this he mastered an art form of voice.
Folio from a manuscript of the Raga Darshan of Anup Folio from a manuscript of the Raga Darshan of Anup (dated A.H. 1214/ A.D. 1799–1800)The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Khansaheb was a scholar not only of music but also of poetry and spiritual traditions. Hear him describe how the composition type Tarana is derived from Persian and Urdu languages. They are not meaningless compositions but rather a spiritual tool of Sufis.
Darbar of Jahangir (ca. 1615) by Artist: Abu'l-HasanSmithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
Raga Darbari Tarana
A magestic Raga Darbari composition that calls out for the lover. An earnest request for audience as the beloved knows all and understands the search of the lover. In Sufi traditions the beloved is the lord and the seeker is the love lorn.
Lovers Watched by Women, Drawing for a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies) (circa 1770) by UnknownLos Angeles County Museum of Art
Another tarana in a raga rarely heard these days. Watch out of the change in the laya (speed) of the composition and notice the beauty of this progression.
Music is that which emanates from the soul and is received by the soul. - Ustad Amir Khan
Know Another Musician
Musicians and Gharanas inspire each other and they are not static. Did you know that Ustad Amir Khan was greatly inspired by the artists of the Kirana Gharana. Interestingly, Pt. Firoz Dastur, a Kirana musician was deeply inspired Amir Khan. Find more about Pt. Firoz Dastur here.