Sweet strains of the sarangi

November 17, 2011, Thrissur

For the first time in Thrissur, music buffs had the privilege of revelling in the enthralling notes bowed out of the sarangi by Sarfaras Khan. The 16-year-old musician, son of Ustad Faiyaz Khan, exhibited exceptional dexterity in ‘singing with the fingers" (a euphemism characteristic of the Sarangi players) during the 50-minute recital.

The raga was Rageshri, generally described as the ‘queen of ragas." It belongs to the Kamaj thaat and suitable for late evening concerts. The opening notes of the alaap attracted long applause from the audience. The young musician built up the raga that excludes panchama completely, by diligently moving mainly in the lower notes before shifting to the higher ones. The mellow mood typical of the raga was effectively created by the way he essayed it. His propriety was evident as he avoided the ‘jod" and ‘jhala" for want of time.

Two to tango
The bandish was in vilambit tempo of teen taal of 16 matras. When he was joined by young percussionist Mihir Kalyanpur on the tabla, the recital turned more exciting. Sarfaras Khan chose a composition of his father for the chota kheyal, beginning with ‘Subh din aaye." It may be remembered that most Sarangi players begin music lessons with vocals before taking up the instrument. The alluring vocal rendition proved that Sarfaras Khan is no exception. Further, it provided an opportunity for the rasikas to realise that music of the sarangi is very much an emotion-filled expression of vocal music.

To conclude the concert, Sarfaras Khan took up the raga Piloo. To be exact it was Misra Piloo, said the musician, for the notes of the raga have never been fixed. The musician was thus free to use the entire chromatic scale, and it created an ambience of joy. Sarfaras Khan played a thumri, depicting Krishna conversing with Radha. Mihir gave a fine support in dadra of six matras. Once again, Sarfaras Khan vocally produced the first lines of the composition to drive home its inherent message. The audience, comprising mostly of young aficionados of Hindustani music, gave the musician a standing ovation at the end of the concert.
Born in the lineage of Ustad Abdul Quader Khan and Ustad Sheik Abdulla Khan of Mysore court, Sarfaras Khan has been giving recitals for the past 10 years. He is currently honing his skills under the legend Pandit Ram Narayan.

The concert was organised by PIANO as part of its fourth music festival in memory of musician Philip V. Francis, at Harisree Vidyaniketan Auditorium.

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article2633057.ece

by G. S. Paul