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GenNext to follow standards of patriarchs: Sabri
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 25
Kamal Sabri is not just another youngster trying to play the instrument his forefathers earned a name for themselves with. He is the face of the younger generation of classical musicians who have been blessed with not only the discipline and richness of the training of their seniors but added lot on their own. As the new world beckons people like Kamal Sabri are playing their tune and making the world fall prey to the ecstasy that is Indian classical music. Here for the Harballabh music festival, Sabri, who accompanied his father Sabri Khan Sahib to the festival for years says the only standards for them still are the ones set by their ‘Buzurg’.

Sabri best sums up richness of the past, dynamism of the present and the enthusiasm of his students, as he feels proud in carrying on the tradition of his forefathers. Having been trained in Sarangi by his father Sabri Khan Sahib now he is training the eighth generation of his family, his sister’s son Sohail Khan along with other students. About the criticism the seniors subject the younger lot of classical musicians, he is clear it is for their good only. The present generation has not faced the difficulties the seniors had to feel Sabri. “We have certain things easier with the times as getting training is not that difficult. There is less of maramari and strictness perhaps, says Sabri. Money can get you name easily now. One album in the market and you are a star overnight, he admits. But at the end of the day only hard work pays. He recounts a saying his father always told him “Khushbo Bano, hawa apne aap uda kar le jayegi”, as standards are the same for us too.

For those not from music gharanas, he says finding a Guru be it in family or outside is a student’s luck. We from one such gharana had certain things easy while to find a name in the backdrop of such brilliant maestros from the same family is an uphill task in itself. For the Guru-Shishya parampara whether you pay in cash as is the tradition now or in kind as happened in the past the tradition is the same. Only now the shishya can also question the Guru why he is not teaching him whereas in the past the reverence for the guru never let the student put a question mark anywhere during training. The change has brought about the difficulty our seniors face in accepting the youngsters somehow. But with time they would stop and begin to like us as all their words are for our betterment only.

On sarangi he says it has become a major attraction for classical music lovers all over the world. Its appeal lies in the fact that it is closest to human voice. It is the most versatile instrument, played keeping it near the heart on the chest and brings out human emotions. And for the uninitiated, played with cuticles of nails, sarangi brings out the “Dil ki awaaz”. The artiste has learnt traditional sarangi and has added an innovation in his instrument too. He added guitar string to the instrument. Initially it was not liked by his father but later he accepted the sound.

On his forthcoming projects. His next album “Dance of the Dessert” for Music Today will be released in early 2007. He has also given music for the Mel Gibson documentary on God called ‘The Big Question’ made by Italian director Francesco Cabral, for which he has composed devotional sounds from Indian spiritual tradition for the documentary. Sabri also led a 100-string orchestra with the ‘Sarangi’ for a documentary on Indian film industry called ‘Bollywood Boulevard’ made by Italian director Jan Michelin. On recent controversy of Pandit Jasraj not being paid in comparison to actress-turned politician Jayaprada, Sabri says it is not question of rightful place in terms of money but it is media hype of a star. Classical music is for elitist select few only while film stars are crowd pullers, be it on roads or stage, and the media hype makes them paid more than others. Honour of classical tradition is not the issue here, he adds.

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