The release SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN’s Gayaki Ang marks an important new chapter in Felmay’s Indian classical music series. Not only is the artist one of the finest sitarists of the new generation, he’s also the son and disciple of the late great Ustad Vilayat Khan, who died in 2004, part of a musical family that for a long time now has produced some of the country’s greatest musicians.
Gayaki Ang provides an ideal showcase for the talents of SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN, a master of the sitar who avoids the lure of showy, pointlessly virtuosistic playing and lightning-fast execution opting instead for a more languid, fluid style built less on impetus than on lyricism and feeling. A soft and delicate breeze that is nonetheless capable of making a few creative waves in the midst of its relaxed and placid flow. The title of the CD itself is indicative of the freshness and spontaneity of SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN’s style, whose nuances approach the subtlety of the human voice. Not surprisingly the artist is fond of adding his own voice to his recitals, making deft use of its unusual timbre. This singer-sitarist stance is perfectly balanced and provides the CD with some of its musical peaks. Accompanying SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN on tabla in his inventions is the great percussion master Shanka Chatterjee. Born in 1960, SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN was something of a musical child prodigy who at the age of six was already giving concerts and appearing at the major Indian festivals. It wasn’t long before he started receiving offers to perform abroad and his music began to attract a steadily growing following especially in the US. As well as perpetuating his country’s musical heritage through his concert performances and teaching, SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN has been drawn to other genres, as can be seen from his participation in the Ghazal Ensemble, whose repertoire runs from Indian to Persian music and who have released a number of highly acclaimed recordings on the Shanachie and ECM labels and nominated for the Grammy Awards. Evident on Gayaki Ang is the both the power SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN restores to the classical tradition and the clear sightedness of his vision of Indian music’s future direction.