Festival Review: Oud Festival

There is no oud in Indian music.

By URY EPPSTEIN
November 13, 2017 20:42
INDIAN SAROD player Amjad Ali Khan.

INDIAN SAROD player Amjad Ali Khan.. (photo credit: KEVIN SATAROLA)

There is no oud in Indian music.

Nevertheless, one owes gratitude to the Oud Festival for its broadmindedness in including the sarod (Indian lute) in its program, in a performance by Amjad Ali Khan and his sons.

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The music starts extremely slowly, repetitively, and in a meditative mood – not surprisingly, since Buddhism, which places emphasis on meditation, originated in India.

It then builds very gradually, almost imperceptibly, to impressively fast virtuosity, with melodiousness replacing the former repetitiveness.

Another repetitive motif then created an almost hypnotic effect.

The instrument’s immense diversity of tone colors was produced by different parts of the finger plucking the strings, as was obligingly demonstrated by Ali Khan.

Particularly enchanting was a Bengali folk melody that came as a calming relief after the preceding breathtaking virtuosity.

A piece from the South Indian tradition, including an exciting tabla (Indian drum) solo with asymmetric rhythms, drummed by the Khan junior, brought the performance to its fascinating end


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