Amjad Ali Khan – Moksha

“There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote.” Amjad Ali Khan

Moksha is a gem of an album. We have one of the most revered masters of the sarod — a stringed instrument somewhat smaller than a sitar and derived from the Afghan rubab — making his music greatly more accessible to audiences outside India not by fusing the music with rock or entertaining other combinations but by the simple expedience of playing shorter ragas (mostly around six or seven minutes long).
The result is pacy, immediate and compelling music driven by a wonderful tabla accompaniment supplied by Rashid Mustafa and defined by Amjad Ali Khan’s staccato attack on the Sarod’s neck — for which he is famous. Amjad Ali Khan recalls that his father never played ragas for longer than 20 minutes to avoid repetition and he defends his use of shorter pieces as being complete in themselves.
Songlines memorably called Amjad Ali Khan, “One of the 20th century’s greatest master of the sarod…” and the story of the instrument is impossible to retell without relating the history of this musician’s family, who are largely responsible for the importation, development and popularity of the instrument in India today.
“This album gives the listener a variety of ragas, including some folk music from two beautiful states of India — West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh,” says Amjad Ali Khan of these eight original compositions. Interestingly, despite composing all the ragas, on two of the tracks, the sarod is played by one of his two sons, Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
The album ends with the title track, ‘Moksha’, named after the moment described in Hindu theology when the individual becomes free of the cycle of reincarnation and joins the Supreme Being. This relatively extended raga features the great sarod master singing for the first time on record and marks a fitting end to a series of pieces of music that effectively capture a wide and compelling range of emotions expressed through wonderful compositions.
Release Date: May 2, 2005
Label: Realworld / EMI
Cat No. CDRW124
Amjad Ali Khan’s site
Tour Dates including Amjad Ali Khan’s visit to the US, UK (May) and other European countries

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