Ustad Liyakat Ali Khan and Jaffar Khan Talks to the GreenWatch Dhaka representative in Stuttgart, Germany,
Monowara Begum Moni
It was a beautiful summer
day when I met Sarangi Maestro Ustad Liyakat Ali Khan with the legendary Tabalchi Jaffar Khan in Stuttgart.
I made the appointment before because I was very much interested to know him personally. In the Indian music instrument players, history dominance of the Khan family is clear. Liyakat Ali Kahn belonging to the Jaipur Seekar Gharana musician Khan family was born in Jaipur but for his profession is living in Mumbai.
Mr Liyakat Ali has decided to learn Sarangi over Harmonium because he found Harmonium too rigid to maintain the extreme fluid movements of Hindustani Classical Music during accompaniment. Today he is one of the leading sarangi players of all generations. He sings as well.
His first performance was in all India Radio. Today he is 67 years old. As I shook my hand, gave Mr Liyakat me a kind of Perfume which smell like Ator. It has a stronger aroma. After a handshake, I had to take my Notebook, pen and Ton recorder from my bag. Fortunately, or unfortunately, until today, when I open my ladies’ bag, it smells the same!
Both the Instrument players come to the to the 15th Indian Film festival on 18th July 2018, in Stuttgart, Germany. For the first time, I heard the music from far away, as I was walking to the opening session of the festival. I was hearing the traditional Indian music Ton Dham- dhum-tin-tara-dhin-dhin with the beat of the table with the sarangi melody. As a south Asian citizen, my body was moving with the music. I took the picture of them instantly.
The instruments of Indian classical music have their very own distinctive sound magic. Most typical is their shimmering overtones, caused by bridges with curved surfaces and many sympathetic strings, and the ability to imitate many aspects of the human voice.
During our meeting, Tobolchi Jaffar Kahn offered me Chai(Tea). He asked Mr Liyakat Khan to sing with his Sarangi. I was not sure, whether should I listen to their heartbreak music or do my interview?
Both the musicians could not speak good English, it was really a problem.
Q: In Islam music is haram. Why are you doing it?
LK: Music is nothing but meditation. If you have “succha dil, to koi nehi haram”!
JK: what is harmful is haram. Music makes a person happy. We musicians are trying through our jobs, to make people happier. He added, koi jhut boloto u wie haram, like illegal sex or alcohol.
Q: Do you drink alcohol as Muslim? Laughed both Khans. They replied with laughter, Jada, jada drink is good to play instruments and parasitizing music. It gives energy. Also good for music.
Q. since how long are you playing the sarangi?
LK: Ustad Liyakat Ali Khan started his musical career in Sarangi at the age of 14.
Q: What was your first performance?
LK: My first performance was in the Yuma Vani section of All India Radio. I first accompanied with my Pandit at Jaipur wale in his concert in the year 1978-79.
Q: what is your advice to your students?
LK: I teach all my students with honesty and dedication, and I expect the same from my students in their approach towards music.
Q: what about the modern young generation, who have been busy with modern technology?
LK: Do that, which is necessary for you, because the effect of continued use of mobile phone has an immense effect. Don`t destroy yourself.
JK: I am 45 years old and has four children. None of my children is interested to learn and play the Tabla. Because they are the opinion, that with this job, they cannot earn enough money to lead a modern life. But he is satisfied with his career with his Tabla playing. They are visiting occasionally some European countries. He can say, Danke (Thanks in German), Graze (Italian) or Merci. They regret the European visa system to come to Europe.
Q: what are your favourite songs?
LK: He laughed and replied:” Yun Hasraton Ke Daag Mohabbat Mein Dho Liye”
JK: „Tere bin Nahi lagda dil Mera dholna“
I did not understand the meaning of their favourite songs, but those sounded familiar to me: these are nothing but songs of love stories! Jaffar Khan, son of a legendary Tabla player Ustad Hidayat Khan and Ustad Liyakat Ali Khan invited me to India like traditional Indians do.