For somebody who is the grandson of sitar legend Ustad Vilayat Khan,and is associated with the rich musical lineage of the famous Imdadkhani gharana that boasts of geniuses such as Ustad Enayet Khan and Grammy-nominated Shujaat Khan,23-year old Azaan Khan developed the penchant for harnessing sweet tones early in life. Our house throbbed with enchanting melodies and the amplified strains of the sitar,and getting influenced was not difficult. I grew up listening to my father singing certain bandishes to teach his students and so,music just became an integral element of my life, says Azaan,who did not learn the family instrument that has had a ubiquitous presence in several generations of his illustrious family.
I was always more inclined towards western music. Playing the piano,strumming guitars and writing simple poetry inspired from old bandishes and Sufi poetry by Amir Khusrau and Rumi was an important part of me, says Azaan,who released his contemporary Sufi music album,titled Philo Sufi (Sa Re Ga Ma,Rs 295),in the Capital on Friday.
It was during an apprenticeship under music directors Salim and Sulaiman at their newly set up studio,Blue,in the posh lanes of Mumbais Juhu that Azaans songs were heard by the artiste and repertoire managers of Sa Re Ga Ma,who immediately put him into a studio,to record eight tracks for the album. An album that is not sitar-based does sound like a break from the tradition. But I was never pressurised by my father or anybody in the family to play the instrument. The tradition of the family is to make good music. So I am doing that. I am only expressing myself differently, says Azaan,adding that his father,Shujaat,loves the music.