Emotions run high and sometimes power and rage comes to play in the music – an expression of the musician's interpretation of the raag and the ambiance in the concert hall. This is a remarkable rendering of the majestic Raag Darbari by Ustad Irshad Khan, a maestro that is able to switch between playing the sitar and surbahar. He is accompanied by Sukhvinder Singh on the jori, the percussion instrument of choice in the Sikh tradition of kirtan.
The surbahar’s deep-toned strings can bend upwards over an octave, allowing artists to explore the contours of a raga using only a single fret. Suited to the slow elaborations of dhrupad, it is large, heavy, and notoriously difficult to master. Here it is played by Irshad Khan, who hails from the illustrious Etawah (‘Imdadkhani’) gharana alongside greats such as Shahid Parvez, Vilayat Khan, and Imrat Khan (Irshad’s father). His ancestors gave shape to the modern sitar, customising the design and mastering gayaki ang (singing style). Irshad lives in Canada today, playing and teaching sitar and surbahar around the world.
Ustad Irshad Khan (surbahar)
Sukhvinder Singh (Jori)
Raag Darbari Kanada