Sabri Khan with Kamal and Suhail
Like most other
children his age in the city, Suhail too, is facing examination
hysteria, But, unlike the other 12 years olds, Suhail
did not study the night before his English examination.
Instead, he played the sarangi alongside his grandfather
Ustaad Sabri Khan and his uncle Kamal Sabri this evening.
What makes Suhail
different is that it is not the fact it was probably the
first time three generations of the same family shared
the stage together but also the instrument of his choice
the sarangi. An unusully stringed instrument, the sarangi
is being forced into oblivion because of lack of interest.
"Probably the toughest instrument
to handle unlike any other instrument it is played with
cuticles of the fingers- which can be very painful." Explained
Kamal Sabri. "It is also called saurangi- meaning hundred
colours and a player should have the ability to bring at
least some colours through his performance," he added.
Part of a long tradition of
sarangi players, the Sabris trace their ancestry back to
the Mughal Emperor Akbar's legendary court singer Tansen.
Each new generation has been orally handed down the priceless
musical heritage like all other Indian art forms.
The sarangi his
another unique distinction of being closest to the human
voice, in richness and melody, affording intense emotional
expression. Ustad Sabri Khan has devoted his entire life
to popularizing this instrument. First to introduce the
sarangi to audiences abroad, he has also played a duet with
Yahudi Menuhin, world renowned composer. It is this legacy
that he passes on to his son and grandson.
"It is important
that many more such public performances are held for the
sarangi to become a mainstream instrument. I have held performances
all over the world--in English, Swizerland, Finland and
Pakistan to fulfill my motto of popularizing the instrument.
Audiences abroad have been very encouraging, but more needs
to be done," said Kamal Sabri.
But the onus of
keeping the tradition alive now really rests on young Suhail's
shoulders. Attracted to sarangi at the age of three by the
"sound" it makes, he has a lot to live up to.