Ustad Sabri Khan

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Ustad Sabri Khan

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The Times of India, Dec 02 2015

Malini Nair  The ustad belonged to the Sainia Moradabad gharana, is credited by music historians for giving the sarangi a fresh lease of life. He had been among its first solo players, pulling it from a long, dark phase of ignominy when it was considered a “lowly“ instrument that was an integral part of the courtesan culture.As an accompanist, he had played for practically every big vocalist of his time -Ustad Amir Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur among others. With 50 years of work at the AIR behind him, he was one of the most versatile sarangi players of his time who could play for every genre ranging from khayal to ghazal.

“The greatest thing about my father was that he defined the roots of the word sarangi -sau rangi, the instrument of a hundred colours.He could play any kind of music and bring a brilliant colour to it,“ says son Kamal Sabri, a well-known sarangi player himself.

Sabri Khan's collaboration with he great violinist Yehudi Menuhin had opened the doors for sarangi's huge popularity in the West. Even oday, the instrument has many students in the west. Kamal estimates hat between western universities and India, the ustad left behind at east 300 students.

In his own family , the legacy is being kept alive by son Kamal and grandson Suhail Yusuf Khan, who plays for a fusion rock band Advai a, but also remains firmly connected to Hindustani classical roots.The ustad remained optimistic about the many ways youngsters were rediscovering the instrument. An entire epoch is intertwined with the music of sarangi maestro Ustad Sabri Khan who passed away on 30 Nov 2015 in Delhi at the age of 88.

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