Mesmerising tabla beats and a musical tribute

Classical music has its own unique charm. It encompasses a wide span of history which rejuvenates the mood and triggers a feeling of nostalgia in the listeners takings them down memory lane. Similar was the mood of the soulful tribute paid to Padma Shri Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan recently at the India Habitat Centre.

A musical tribute and an attempt to fill the void which was created due to the early death of the tabla maestro, the evening brimmed with eminent personalities like ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and Padma Bhushan Pandit Debu Chaudhary along with the near and dear ones of Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan.

Khan’s early and unexpected demise haunts the city till date. Knowing the fact that he is the only tabla player to have accompanied Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj and Bharat Natyam exponent Leela Samson, one feels the pangs of his loss even more. Such was the plight of Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan who recited some of his best compositions during
the evening.

“Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan and I had been playing together since the age of four. His absence gives me a lot of pain and I deeply regret his loss. Mai dil se aaj unka shukriya ada karna chahta hoon (I whole heartedly pay this tribute to Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan).” he said just before his performance.

“We both had this little pact amongst us, where when each one of us turns 50, we would celebrate our 100 years in totality and make it a grander occasion. It’s unbelievable that he left us so early,” he remembered with a heavy heart.

The entire ambience generated an emotional gust within each and every person present during the evening. Naturally, the ones performing were the ones going through deepest nostalgia.

Apart from the emotional outburst, the evening was an exceptional tribute to Ustad Shafaat Ahmed. It also featured Romaan Khan, a tabla player and a disciple of Khan, accompanied by Vinay Mishra on the harmonium. His magical spark on the
king of drums was an enticing treat to the audience, wherein the superlative talent of his guru was honoured in a true sense!

The highlight of the evening was Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan’s performance, accompanied by Akbar Lateef on tabla and Asgar Hussain on violin along with his son Saad Iqbal on tanpura. He started his recital with Vilampit in Raag Chand Kauns, which was composed in the memory of his Guru Ustad Chand Khan; followed by Raag Malkauns in Dhrut, the performance concluded with his soothing recital aao ji daras dikhao.  

For those who truly understand the underlying notions and the beauty of classical music, the tribute was a joyous and a soulful treat. The mesmerising vocals, the enchanting notes of the tanpura and tabla were enough to make the audience, completely lose itself in the musical high! 

Where the loss of talented artistes like Padma Shri Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan leaves an everlasting impact on the genre of classical music, such tributes are a welcoming attempt to relive their mem-ories and felicitate their contributions to the world of performing arts.

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