Sangeet Sartaj Vol 1 - Bismillah Khan (Ustad) (2006)

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Shehnai Players
Mumtaz Hussain, Nanne Hussain, Nayyar Hussain
Khurdak Player
Basharat Hussain
Tabla Player
Nazim Hussain

About this album

The unrivalled shehnai player Bismillah Khan is a living legend of Indian classical music. With his artistic virtuosity, Bismillah Khan brought out the instrument of Shehnai from the confines of wedding music to elevate its status as an instrument of concert.

Bismillah Khan was born on 21 March 1916 in a family whose ancestors were court musicians of the princely state of Dumrao in Bihar. His uncle Ali Bux, a well-known Shehnai player at the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, gave him training. An extremely promising shishya (student) of the shehnai, the young Bismillah mastered a variety of forms of classical music such as
thumri, chaiti and kajri. Later, after an in depth study of khayal gayaki, he incorporated it in his instrument.

Bismillah Khan always performs along with two accompanists, one of them being the main complimentary support. For many years, Bismillah was accompanied with the duggi as percussion. later, he switched over to Tabla as an accompaniment. During a performance, Bismillah puts his audiences in a trance. When Bismillah plays, his shehnai sings. While he is perfect in ragadaari, Bismillah is equally superb in the rendering of thumri, kajri and chaiti. Bismillah's devotional tunes played on the Shehnai are hugely popular.

Bismillah Khan has brought rare vibrancy and resplendence to Indian classical music. He has further enriched the heritage of Indian music.

"Raga Kormal Rishab Asavari"

An ancient raga, Asavari is an audava - sampoorna raga, with five notes or swaras in the aroha or ascending scale and all seven in avroha or descending scale. komal Rishabh Asavari is rendered with rishab (D) flat. The avroha especially unfolds this raga, and the important swaras are komal dhaivat (A flat), komal gandhar (E flat) and komal rishab (D flat).

"Raga Mishra Mel Ki Malhar"

Raga Mishra Mel Ki Malhar is a free improvisation, allowing for independent interpretation and exploration. Strands of different ragas have been woven into this composition to form a rich and tuneful tapestry.

"Raga Shuddh Sarang"

Of all the sarangs, this is considered the major offering of the afternoon. It provides a rich choice of emotional colours while maintaining a powerful identity of its own. What gives shuddh sarang its special sound is the interplay between the teevra madhyam in the ascent and the shuddh madhyam in the descent. This subtlr ornament is supported at each end by the stable shadaj and pancham, which act like pillars.


kajri, a folk form of the rainy season, has found its way into the light classical repertoire, through in a more sophisticated manner. In this rendition, so typical of Benaras, the artiste retains the essentially rustic feel of the kajri, while stylising his presentation in the classical mould.


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