Raag Yaman

Raag Yaman: Ustad Amir Khan

Amir Khan was a virtually self-taught musician. He developed his own gayaki (singing style), influenced by the styles of Abdul Waheed Khan (vilambit tempo), Rajab Ali Khan (taans) and Aman Ali Khan (merukhand). This unique style, known as the Indore Gharana, blends the spiritual flavour and grandeur of dhrupad with the ornate vividness of khyal. The style he evolved was a unique fusion of intellect and emotion, of technique and temperament, of talent and imagination. Unlike other artists he never made any concessions to popular tastes, but always stuck to his pure, almost puritanical, highbrow style.

Amir Khansahib had a rich baritone open-throated voice with a three-octave range. His voice had some limitations but he turned them fruitfully and effortlessly to his advantage. He presented an aesthetically detailed badhat (progression) in ati-vilambit laya (very slow tempo) using bol-alap with merukhandi patterns, followed by gradually speeding up “floating” sargams with various ornamentations, taans and bol-taans with complex and unpredictable movements and jumps while preserving the raga structure, and finally a madhyalaya or drut laya (medium or fast tempo) chhota khyal or a ruba’idar tarana. He helped popularize the tarana, as well as khyalnuma compositions in the Dari variant of Persian. While he was famous for his use of merukhand, he did not do a purely merukhandi alap but rather inserted merukhandi passages throughout his performance. He believed that practising gamak is essential to mastering singing.

Listen to this beautiful rendition of Raag Yaman by the maestro

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