Amjad Ali Khan

Michael Henningsen
2 min read
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Sunday, April 18; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.)/Thursday, April 22; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 7 p.m.): Perhaps the only thing more amazing than listening to sarod master Amjad Ali Khan play his instrument in a setting of traditional accompaniment is listening to him trade licks with jazz virtuoso guitarist Charlie Byrd. Khan's collaboration with Byrd speaks to his ability to play exceptionally in any situation on an instrument that remains largely enigmatic to Westerners. The sarod is a 19-string fretless lute-like device made of teak wood and metal indigenous to India, where Khan is acknowledged as one of India's finest classical musicians and the foremost exponent of the sarod.

Mystical and shimmering with exotic modal textures, the music Khan performs is neither written nor read, rather it has been passed down in tactile form through more than six generations of Bangash musical tradition. Khan's command of the sarod is truly as breathtaking as the sheets of sound he creates on it. To watch him play is to witness what appears to be an impossible feat that elicits mood and texture without the use of vocals.

For his Lensic and Outpost appearances, Khan will be joined by his sarodist son Ayaan Ali Bangash and tablaist Abhiman Kaushal. Tickets for the Outpost concert are $20 general, $15 members (268-0044). Call the Lensic at (505) 988-1234 for ticket prices.

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