When Johar Ali Khan held a violin for the first time at the age of seven,he had a question for his father,the legendary Ustad Gohar Ali Khan of Patiala gharana. I asked him that how could a four-stringed instrument play seven notes. The answer lay in rigorous riyaz and unusual improvisations, says Johar,who is presently one of the few violin players to play Hindustani classical music in India. While there are many Carnatic classical musicians who are masters of the four-stringed instrument,the Hindustani classical improvisations are tougher to exact as Carnatic compositions are mostly pre-set, says Johar,who is part of the third edition of International Ancient Arts Festival,which starts today at Kamani Auditorium.
Organised by Rays of Wisdom Society,and supported by Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Ministry of Culture,the two-day event kickstarts with a collaborative performance of various Indian traditional dance forms,including an Odissi performance by Reela Hota,who is the festival director. This is followed by a Kathak recital by Vidha Lal of Jaipur gharana and Gaudiya Nritya by Gaudiya Nritya Bharati. The second day will feature Chinese musician Wang Fei on an age-old instrument called guqin a seven-string rabab lookalike,along with Irani sitar player Bahman Panahi. Both will collaborate with Johar Ali on pentatonic and heptatonic ragas and scales. The grand finale performance is by Delhi-based khayal singers,Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra.