Legendary Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash have collaborated with multiple Grammy-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin for an album titled Strings for Peace. The album is slated for release May 22 on the ZOHO label (ZM 202004), CDs and digital copies can be pre-ordered now from Amazon and other retailers.
Strings for Peace is an amalgamation of classics. One will get to witness the magical combination of sarod and classical guitar in an eclectic east-west fusion. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Sharon, who have known each other for over a decade, have contemplated a collaboration for years which has now come to fruition through Strings for Peace. The album’s four tracks cover a wide range of expression, lyricism, color and virtuosity. The ragas composed by Amjad Ali Khan receive their world premiere in settings for guitar and sarod: By The Moon-Behag, Love Avalanche-Mishra Bhairav, Romancing Earth-Pilu, and Sacred Evening-Yaman.
On the successful completion of Strings for Peace and the release of the album, Amjad Ali Khan said ”Each of the artists brings the spirit of sharing the great unique treasures of their own artistic traditions, as well as finding common ground in ragas and medieval modes. The idea is to achieve a cross-fertilization at both the cellular and cosmic levels of two classical music traditions, which are often held to be radically different.”
Speaking about the collaboration, Amaan Ali Bangash said, “We feel honoured to collaborate with Sharon who is so creative, artistic and enthusiastic. We are sure when one hears the album, the intricacy of every beat and rhythm can be felt and one will be transported to a different consciousness. I have always felt that this collaboration is about letting go of what we are best at and more about getting the best out of the other person.”
Ayaan Ali Bangash added “Strings for Peace, I believe is extremely relevant. Especially in the wake of a pandemic. We have known Sharon for a decade, and began to really work together only last year. It is difficult to create fusion as it is a marriage of different cultures and it takes a lot of time for the perfect harmony. When we started out, little did we know that this creation will come to fruition at a time when humanity will need to consider meditation and contemplation more than ever.”
Sharon has had a longstanding relationship with Transcendental Meditation, which she has practiced since her teens and a deep interest in the classical music of India. Her collaboration with Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan and Amaan- Ayaan is a perfect harmony of interest and expertise which makes the quartet stand out with transcended notes. The combination of Sarod and classical guitar is not commonplace, yet the musical marvels have effortlessly and effectively blended a chromatic instrument, Guitar to the microtonal elaborations of Sarod. Both the instruments not only complement each other but strive to create a new articulation of fusion.
Sharon Isbin said, “It took a long time to get the right partners to realize this unique vision on the guitar. Our instruments have so many interesting similarities and differences. Combining the sarod and guitar results in an extraordinary blend. It’s a pleasure and inspiration to perform with the finest, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. Strings for Peace is a beautiful compilation of music that successfully interweaves the rhythms of sarod and guitar. Listeners will experience a remarkable spiritual and emotional journey.”
The recording will be released May 22, CDs and digital copies be pre-ordered now from Amazon and other retailers.
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