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News |  06 Feb 2018 14:41 |  By RnMTeam

We are open to compose music: Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash

MUMBAI: To be the seventh generation of Senai Bangash gharana's unbroken chain and be sons of the legendary Sarod virtuoso Padmavibhushan Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is an honour indeed, but it comes with equal amount of responsibility. Radioandmusic, caught up with the brothers Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, who recently performed at the ongoing Kalaghoda festival in Mumbai.

The talented duo has performed at Kalaghoda earlier and more than glad to perform again. Shares Ayaan, "We performed here first in 2014 and since then have been a part of this festival. The energy and vibe at this place is great. In fact, I think lot of festivals across India are following Kalaghoda model, to bring all art, culture and entertainment under one roof. Although the venue had to be changed last minute due to some unavoidable reasons, performing at this venue (Horniman Circle Gardens) was great fun too, as it had an intimate set-up."

Amaan agrees, "We feel blessed to perform here. The audience is very interactive and this festival also has a different vibe about it."

Their popularity and love showered by the audience was palpable at the festival, as people across different age groups were excited to hear them perform. The duo performs extensively abroad as much as they do in India. On being quizzed about the difference Amaan says, “Indian audience is interactive and responsive. In the west though, sometimes it’s difficult to gauge the feedback while the concert is going on, as it is only later we get the feedback. It is a bit of a struggle, because as a musician I understand what’s happening on stage, but as a performer feedback is appreciated."

While Ayaan explains, "The energies are different but now the world is becoming a global village and audiences are far more open.” 

About fusion music the brothers have clear views, "There is no particular rule book for collaborations. We have also collaborated in the past and are in process of new electronic album with Karsh Kale. But there is no formula either of what may work and what may not. However, when on stage, as musicians, we have to wish fellow musicians well. It is not about pulling each other down. Each to his own, however, if we are doing 20 concerts, 18 are classical music concerts, as we prefer that.”

The elder brother, Amaan is a big fan of fusion music. "There are some amazing collaborations done by legends like Bharatratna Pandit Ravi Shankar with George Harrison of Beatles.  I am a big fan of fusion music, because it is not as easy as it seems. It’s just not about the sound. But to experience Sarod as an instrument at its best, there needs to be complete silence on the stage."

Both of them have been performing together since they were in their teens, however sometimes they perform solo too. "It is important for a classical musician to perform solo, as it adds to your growth. When I am in the audience and my brother is performing on stage, it is a very proud feeling as I feel he is one of the finest musicians we have. Our duets are powerful and fun," shares Amaan.

Ayaan says, "As brothers we have certain telepathy. We don't rehearse together before concerts or even practice together, whatever happens on stage is spontaneous."

About his lineage Amaan humbly says, "We were around 10-12 years old when we started performing , but it was only when I was 15 I realized that there were no free-lunches and what a huge responsibility it is to be Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saheb's son. I am a student forever and god-fearing person. We are humbled by the constant love showered on us by the audience. At the same we don't take the adulation seriously, for us every day is a new day to work and practice harder."

When asked about any plans for composing music for Bollywood movies, the brothers share, "We have lot of friends in the industry, but we haven't been really approached for it. In fact, we have got more offers for acting and also some really odd offers.”

Continuing Ayaan says, "We have done an American crossover cinema called Daylight way back in 2003.  Initially we had directors like Satyajit Ray or Sai Paranjpe, we would be glad to be associated with projects of stature that these artistes produced, as it matches our aesthetics. We have done television and authored books too. So, we are open to compose music too." 

Amaan resonates, "But we are not desperate. We will certainly do, if things work out, as it is finally music. However, we don't understand how the industry functions. Dealing with mediators could be tricky and communication isn't always honest and transparent."

The brothers along with their legendary father have recently collaborated with Elmira Darvarova, violinist and the only woman-concert master in the Metropolitan Opera in New York, for an album called Peace Worshipers. Elmira was supposed to perform at the Kalaghoda Festival, but due to ill health, she could not be a part of it. The audience was however treated with a surprise of having the legend Padmavibhushan Amjad Ali Khan's stellar performance. Needless to add, the audience was overjoyed to have the master grace the stage. "Not many artistes of his age and stature would have come on stage to perform last minute. He is an extremely progressive artiste," says Ayaan Ali Bangash.

The concert started with the brothers performing two presentations in Raag Piloo and Raag Desh. Followed by the master performing a Tarana, and two compositions in Rabindra Sangeet. They were accompanied on Tabla by Satyajit Talwalkar and Sridhar Parthasarthy on Mridangam.