The Enchanting age old Sarangi and the young Maestro Kamal Sabri.
Press Clippings     

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Keeping a great tradition alive

Ustad 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.


<<Back to the Press Clippings Page