Project Director: K.S. Sarma
Devised & Designed by Kamalini Dutt
Associates: Ved M. Rao & Kali Prasad
Rudra Veena or Been is the mother of all string instruments. It has imparted some aspect of music to more or less every instrument new and old string instruments like sur Bahar Sun Singer, Sarod and sitar all of them took techniques from Rudra Veena Veterans and pupils of traditional Gharanas still use phrases like this Mizrab is been’s Mizarab these bols are been’s bols these angas are been’s angas this alap which is being rendered is in the style of been this wire being specially for kharaj is to produce the sound of Been thus been has given some thing or the other to every string instrument. My gharanas or lineage has long association with been and has contributed much to this art. I am a the seventh or eight generation of the family of beenkars Shahaji Sahab was the first beenkar in this tradition. Ustad Rajjab Ali Khan the music guru of Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur was my great grand father. My father to Rampur Court. He was the state musician in Rampur Darbar for rest of his life. Rampr is my city where I was brought up and given training in music.
Tansen has said Duyi Taar Duyi Saar Saptaswar Progat Kare Taars are strings and saars are frets. This is the specialty of this instrument Nishat Ko Jache Tab Hot Hai Ujjara Been ke Bhed ko Janat hain Buddhisman tansen says those well trained musicians scholars know the essence of been how with just 2 strings and 2 frets can you produce 7 notes?
The first string is tuned to lower octave Sa and the second is at Shuddha Madhyama. I will now play just two strings and you will see how we are the operate all the octaves and all the notes with just 2 strings. Thus 2 strings and 2 frets are the secret of been.
Ustad Asad Ali khan the wizard of Rudra Veena Represents the famed Beenkar Gharana of Jaipur. His ancestors were royal musicians of the princely state of Jaipur which has always been a great patron of Indian classical Music. The reign of Maharaja Ram Singh II (1835-1880) was witness to the brilliance of numerous instrumentalists vocalists and dancers who thrived under the patronage of the Maharaja. A star amongst them was Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s great grandfather the Beenkar Ustad Rajab Ali khan who also had the privilege of being the music guru of the Maharaja himself. It is not surprising therefore to find an account of Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s family in the historical texts of Rajasthan.
The beenkar tradition of Ustad Rajab Ali khan was carried forward by his nephew Ustad Musharraf Khan who became a famous court musician in the neighbouring princely state of Alwar with his performance in London in the year 1886. Ustad Musharraf Ali khan became one of the earliest Indian musicians to perform in Europe. At that time his son Sadiq ali khan was three years old. Ustad Sadiq Ali Khan (1883-1964) grew to become a brilliant exponent of the Rudra Veena and after his father’s death inherited his father’s position in the court of Alwar. He subsequently moved to the royal house of Rampur to become the court musician of Nawab Raza Ali khan.
Ustad Asad Ali khan the son of Ustad Sadieq Ali khan was born in 1937 in the music steeped royal environs of Rampur and grew up listening to the music of great masters. Ustad Asad Ali khan inherited the mercurial magic of his great family tradition. His musical journey began very early and when he was ten years old he began taking lessons on the sitar. At the age of fourteen his father formally initiated him into the hallowed tradition of mastering the Rudra Veena. The next thirteen years saw riyaaz of about 14 hours everyday and schooling during which he also accompanied his father in concerts.
Steeped in the spiritual ethos of his heritage Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s music is hallmarked by purity of style a mood of profound contemplation and serenly wondrous stroke play. His alaap is stamped with an expressive dignity that sets him apart in a class of his own. His renditions climax in a cascade of notes rendered to leave an all time imprint on the listener’s mind. It is this combination that makes him unparalleled not just amongst been performers but also amongst the musicians of the world. In agnage where fewer and fewer musicians are taking up the exacting art of playing the Rudra Veena Ustad Asad Ali Khan is a treasure house of India’s glorious musical heritage and the foremost preserver of the sublime art of rendering the dhrupad style on the Rudra Veena.
Having performed in some of the most prestigious music venues across the world he has over the years dedicated his time and energies to the continuation of the Rudra Veena tradition. Ustad Asad Ali Khan has talented disciples in many countries of the world besides India. Inheriting the family heritage his nephew Zaki Haider has also been living and learning with him since childhood.
Ustad Asad Ali khan musical genious has been embellished by several awards and honors. He holds the Veena Visharad degree from the Benaras Hindu University and has received the Sangeet Shiromani Award from the sangeet Natak Academy of Lucknow. He has been honored with the Sangeet Natak Academi Award in 1985 the Tirunal Dhrupad Award Kashi in 1988 the Delhi Sahita Kala Parishad Award in 1989 and the Tansen Award in 1994.
A veritable feast for all music lovers this VCD brings you some of the finest performances by eminent Rudraveena Vidwans of out times.
It is part of Doordarshan’s special series commemorating 100 years of recorded music in India.
The series is a tribute to all the great artistes who have contributed to India’s rich music and dance heritage.
Raga Bageshree 26:05
Dhrupad Bandish – Chautal
Pandit Gopal Das – Pakhawaj
Zaki Hyder – Tanpura
Gary Roba – Tanpura
Raga Chandrakauns 26.11
Dhrupad Bandish – Chautal
Mohan Shyam Sharma – Pakhawaj
Zaki Hyder – Tanpura
Tapus Banerjee – Tanpura