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All of eight, this Khan rocks

All of eight, this Khan rocks
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The capital was witness to the parampara tradition when sitar maestro Imrat Khan, introduced his youngest son, Azmat Ali Khan, as the next prodigy of the Khan brood at the ongoing five-day Delhi Classical Music Festival.

Eight-year-old Azmat is the son of the Imrat Khan's American wife Melinda and the youngest of his five sons – the others being Nishat, Irshad, Wajahat and Shafaatullah – all of whom are accomplished international musicians in the family gharana.

‘It is my duty to teach my sons the music we have played for generations and have given to the world. I devote all my time to teach them despite my failing health. Like all his brothers, Azmat shows promise. I cannot abandon my responsibility as a father,’ Imrat Khan said.

Azmat played raga Jhinjhoti, a deviation of the Khamaja family of ragas, to a packed hall at the Kamani theatre in the capital. The playful child who drawls on his ‘r’ and ‘s’, tackled a sitar that towered way above his two-foot frame with ease, plucking the same melliflous notes as his father’s despite a few nervous misses.

After the recital, Azmat spoke to the media. He said he had been learning the sitar and surbahar – two instruments that his father commands at will – since the age of three.

‘I practise for a couple of hours everyday under my father’s tutelage. I just love doing it. I don’t have fixed hours for taalim,’ the third-grader said.

The little ‘ustaad, however, prefers the complicated surbahar and its basic sound to that of the sitar. He plays both the instruments. ‘But it is a hard choice to say which one I like better...Preferably the surbahar,’ he drawled.

His fingers hurt after long hours of strumming the strings. ‘But I have to do it,’ Azmat said.

‘Most of my friends in school are musicians. My best friend is a pianist,’ Azmat told.     
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