Ustad Vilayat Khan
Ustad Vilayat Khan’s credits are many and have established him as one of the foremost musicians of India. He comes from a family of musicians who trace their lineage back seven generations, A child prodigy, Vilayat Khan learned from an early age and was recorded by EMI only when he was 9 years old. In addition to sitar training under his father, the celebrated Ustad Enayat Khan, he also learned vocal from his maternal grand father, Ustad Bande Hussain Khan. Vilayat practiced upto 14 hours a day, honing his skills to make him a master sitarist and an accomplished vocalist.
It is not surprising that his unique contribution to the field of Indian music is the creation of a revolutionary vocal style, known now as the gayaki ang. The aim of the style is to replicate the human voice through the sitar. In addition, Vilayat Khan redesigned the sitar to give the 700 year old instrument deeper resonance. Music listeners will notice his beautifully distinctive style where he pulls rather than plucks the strings of the sitar.
He is called Aftaab-E-Sitar (radiant sun of sitar), a title conferred on him by the president of India. He was awarded the Bharat Sitar Samrat by the Indian classical artists’ association and has been honored with a multitude of other awards. He has performed in thousands of concerts that stretched accross the globe in the most prestigious of venues. He has performed in the courts of Iran, Afghanistan and has the unique distinction of have played at Buckhingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II. Vilayat Khan passed away in March 2004 but has since influenced most of the popular sitarists of later generations and is aknowledged as the greatest sitarist India has ever produced.
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