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Ustad Aslam Hussain Khan (A Living Legend)

Introduction

Ustad Aslam Khan is one of the top and most senior musicians at present Ustad Aslam Hussain Khan, has descended from the Hapur Gharana (Meerut U.P.) of Shaadi Khan and Murad Khan whose achievements sound legendary. Ustad Shaadi Khan and Ustad Murad Khan were the court musicians of the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Ustad Aslam Khan, has completed 50 years of dedicated service to Indian music this year, and on this occasion, his disciples, students and fans congratulate him for this great achievement. Born on 14th April 1940.

 

"Music runs in my blood" as he replies during an interview. Ustad Aslam Khan, is the representative of 500 year old traditional Musician's family of the prestigious Khurja Gharana, Atrauli (Jaipur) Gharana, Agra Gharanas and the Delhi Tanras Khan Gharana. These Gharanas have given India such giants as Haji Ustad Altaf Hussain Khan, Gayan Samrat Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan, Sangeet Samrat Ustad Allahdiya Khan, Gayan Acharya Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, Aaftab-e-Mausiqui Ustad Fayyaz Khan and many others. The contribution of these music stalwarts, to the enrichment, promotion and popularity of Indian Music is monumental.

 

"I was initially trained in music by my maternal uncle Haji Ustad Altaf Hussain Khan of Khurja Gharana." "Later around 1950, I came to Bombay permanently, to stay with my brother-in-law, Gayan Samrat Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan, who not only became my Guru but also mentor and benefactor". "My Guru Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan, belonged to the Atrauli (Jaipur) Gharana, and was one of the greatest musicians India has ever produced". "He was a performer, musicologist, poet as well as a perfect teacher". "He not only taught me music but also urdu and Arabic". "I owe most of what I am today, as a musician and as a social being to my Guru". "I also had a golden opportunity of learning music under the great Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan of Agra Gharana, and also Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan." Aslam Khan was a child prodigy who gave his first stage performance at the age of twelve years. He is a khandani Musician belonging to the near extinct world of "Guru Shishya Parampara". This gem of purest ray serene, happily vegetates, in the dark unfathomed caves of sincere dedication and unalloyed devotion to music, blissfully unmindful of the honours like Padmabhushan, Sangeet Natak Academy Awards, Cultural Awards or Gaurav Puraskars, that should have come his way long ago but have not.

 

Ustad Aslam Khan's inborn genius enabled him to blend the diverse speciality of each respective Gharana into an individual style which has tremendous aesthetic appeal, his khayal singing is marked by a leisurely development (badath) of the "Vilambit" while the "Drut" is embellished by a spectacular variation of "Layakari" and breath takingly "tayyar taans".

 

Ustad Aslam Khan, also sings Thumri, Dadra, Tarana and Ghazals with the flair of a maestro. Both emotional content as well as technical perfection are the outstanding attributes of his art. He is also an expert on the music of the legendary Hazrat Amir Khusro. "I sing ghazal in its purest form with minimum instrumentation" says Aslam Khan. In light music Aslam Khan has carved an enviable niche in the hearts of ghazal lovers. Till today he has composed more than one thousand ghazals and bhajans.

 

He has to his credit, a number of classical as well as ghazal cassettes, which have been released by different Music Companies. Ustad Aslam Khan is a popular broadcaster and T.V. artist and has sung to appreciative audiences not only all over India but also in, U.K., East Africa and Pakistan. For his outstanding achievement in music, he was honoured with the SURMANI Award in 1969, SWARVILAS Samman Award in 1993 by Sur Singar Sansad, Sawar Sadhna Vilas in 1999 and Sangeet Martand & Sur-Sangam in 1995. Aslam Khan's innovative mind is ever exploring new avenues. He has composed several classical compositions and Ragas under the pen name "Khushrang", and experiments with traditional ragas to create beauty. Following the footsteps of his mentor Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan. He has also written ghazals, some of which he has recorded. He has trained a number of disciples many of whom have become noted singers today namely Manhar Udas & Brothers, Vajahat Hussain, Kamlakar Naik, Umesh Chowdhary, T.K. Chowdhary, Rajeshwari Chowdhary, Meena Kothari, Chandra Kothari, Kamla Jhangiani, Mansi Kanekar, Anwar, Usha Amonkar, Vasanthi Raju, Kedar Pawangadkar, Angana Jhaveri, Brahmanand Singh, Sushant Bhende, Ram Nagraj, Shashikant Jha and many others.

 

Ustad Aslam Khan's music has been recorded extensively by Sangeet Natak Academy, N.C.P.A., All India Radio and Samwad Foundation. He has also recorded two CDs of classical Music with a French Music Co. "Raag - Sangeet" who has recorded his rare Ragas in an interview. Recently, the HMV Co. (RPG) has recorded his classical Ragas. Mr. Arun Khopkar recorded a documentary film "Raag Miyan Malher" superbly sung by Ustad Aslam Khan in the year 2000. In 2007 "Banyan tree" recorded the rare classical bandishes. Ninad Music has recorded his live classical concert in 1998 and several ragas for two music albums yet to be released. The response of critics as well as music lovers to his long playing records and pre-recorded cassettes has been overwhelmingly favorable. His art was once compared by an admirer to the 'Taj-Mahal' a massive structure embellished by exquisitely delicate carving. The total effect can be summed up in one phrase - "aesthetically satisfying and traditionally authentic".

 

Recently Ustad Aslam Khan has sung a semi classical song in the film "Kahan Se Aaye Badarwa". He has also sung four other songs for another untitled hindi film.

 

He is very confident and says with a smiling face, "I want to give the best of my music, to all music lovers, but the powers that we should realise".

 

May God grant him many years of happiness and health, so his contribution towards the enrichment of Indian Music continues unabated.

 

Aslam Khan has sung eight film songs under the music direction of Iqbal Darbar. He has recorded not less than four hundred bandishes (compositions) in rare ragas with the ITC SRA SAPTAK (Ahmedabad), SNA (New Delhi), AIR (Mumbai & Delhi), Goa Academy Samvad foundation & NCPA Mumbai. He has recorded 300 rare ragas with SRA and fifty Ragas with saptak. In recent times Aslam Khan Sahab has been declared as one of the greatest exponents of khayal gayaki & the senior most representative of the legendary Khurja, Atrauli (Jaipur) & Agra Gharanas.


Some Press Opinions Regarding Aslam Khan

 

"…………… Vigorous and genuinely classical singing were the musical features of Aslam Khan's exposition of "Pat-Manjari" . He is at home in both slow and fast movements.(Indian Express November 16th 1976)

 

"…………. His Khayals in Jog (Vilambit and drut) and SOHINI (drut) were a clever blend of the Agra and Atrauli GAYAKIS. They were often reminiscent of his mentor. Specially fascinating was DRUT JOG for the beauty of it's bandish" (The Times of India, 1st Aug. 1977.)

 

"………….. in presenting his repertoire, Aslam Khan unfolded a thoughtful amalgam of some of the striking features of the three GAYAKIS. Singing in a husky voice he invested his vilambits with fullness of statement and clarity. The familiar twists and curves were effectively marshalled in projecting the model character of each number." (The Times Of India, 26th June, 1978)

 

"…………. Vocal recital by Aslam Khan Sahab of Atrauli - Khurja and Agra Gharanas rendered Jog - Kauns with characteristic layakari vigour and vitality. Endowed with a rich voice his layakari tans of the rare "bandishes" he rendered was a classic treat as well as his next sohini and a Tarana. (The Times Of India, 1980)

 

"………….. However it was Ustad Aslam Khan who carried the honours of the night with him. Each of his four numbers were gems of musicianship. (Indian Express. April 21, 1987)

 

"…………Aslam sings in a broad yet smooth voice. His focus is on creating the mood of the raag through a slow and systematic build up. His "Darbari" is melodious and is rendered with ease and efficiency. The composition in Raag "Sohoni" Thagiya moraman……" is set to the right pace and is thoroughly enjoyable………" (Afternoon 2nd December 1987) (Raag "Darbari Todi Sohoni" CBS)

 

"……….Khurja gharana's Aslam Khan possesses a deep and strong yet mellow voice. A plus in his aakar". His satta Taans are clear, sargams well-balanced. In the drut the gamak tans too, stand out for their power………."

 

"……….. You don't have to be an Ustad or pandit to appreciate the nuances of Hindustani Classical Music. And even if you are among the unfortunate souls who dub pakka Raag gargling let Ustad Aslam Khan show you how raag Darbari, Sohoni Tarana and Todi can be melodious and soothing…….." (T.V. & Video World April 30th 1988)

 

"………..His recitals are marked by a leisurely linear development of the vilambit khayal which clearly brings out the emotions of the Raag while the Drut Khayal is characterized by a variety of complicated Taans as in Raag Darbari Kanada and Todi………" (The Times Of India 11th April 1989)

"………..Aslam Khan was zoomed into the forefront with his "Teri Yaad Mein" ghazal cassette. It is rich in sur, dard, wazan, Pathos and fluency of expression. I heard light ghazals on both sides of the cassette over and over again……." (Evening News Of India, 24th Oct. 1980)

 

"……….Aslam Khan rose to new heights and had the audience eating out of his hands, if the ecstatic shouts of Wah! Kya baat hai! Irshaad! Were any indication, and it looks like he will be serious threat to Jagjit Singh et al……….." (Evening News 1980)

 

"………… Ustad Aslam Khan is yet another artist who has made his mark in the highly competitive world of music. Ustad Aslam Khan has a rich heritage behind him. Flavored by specialties two Gharanas flowered the gayaki of Aslam Khan…….." (Ahmedabad Times 1986)

 

"….. Ustad Aslam Khan, has been acknowledged as one of the top and foremost representative of the Agra, Atrauli (jaipur) and khurja Gharanas, though he himself belongs to the famous Hapur Gharana. His recent performance in world space Music Conference was just outstanding. (Afternoon 2005)

 

Address : Ustad Aslam Khan, 9 Ruby mansion, 3rd floor, Forjet street Gowalia Tank Mumbai 400036 India Tel : 022-23884926 (Resi) Mob : 09820484522

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