Despite having been introduced just a few short centuries ago, the prince of classical North Indian instruments would have to be the sarod. The sarod is believed to be a descendant of the Afghan rabab. It has an interesting construction from several points of view.
Firstly, it is sculpted from a single piece of teak. Secondly, the front of its wooden belly is covered in goatskin and the fingerboard is unfretted (a fact that makes finding the notes somewhat difficult). The fingerboard is covered with a thin sheet of steel so that the player can easily slide their fingers up and down the strings, of which there are eight (four for the melody, two drone strings and two chikari strings used to provide a rhythmic accompaniment). The sarod also has from 11 to 14 sympathetic strings, which are situated at a perpendicular angle to the main strings and which are used to create the reverberant effect together with the vibrations produced by the goatskin. The overall sonority tends to be fairly hard (the sarod is often considered masculine and the sitar feminine) but with a depth of colour and round timbre. In recent years, two musicians have done much for the reputation of the sarod: Ali Akbar Khan (born in 1922) and Aljad Ali Khan (born in 1945). The two players come from musical families and gharana (schools) that, while being equally illustrious, have a diverging technical approach to the instrument. We are proud to present this live recording of Amjad Ali Khan, who is descended from a famous dynasty of sarod players. His father, Hafiz Ali Khan (d. 1972) was a player of some considerable skill. Amjad Ali Khan’s live performances are unforgettable and it is under these conditions that the depth and intensity of his unique style are best felt and maintain this feeling also in the contained framework of a CD. Although Amjad Ali Khan is constantly reworking the structure of the raga, his inventions nevertheless remain closely tied to tradition. His impressive slides and vibratos speak of much more than sheer technical ability acquired over a lifetime. The very essence of classical Indian music is revealed in all its splendour and beauty. The sonorities that Amjad Ali Khan succeeds in obtaining from his instrument (with an excellent accompaniment by table player, Sabri Khan) cover the entire rainbow of human emotions. His artistry consists in his ability to transport his listeners from one emotional plane to another with apparent ease