Sonic Saturdays

Listen: Mohammad Sagiruddin Khan and Abdul Latif Khan’s sarangi renditions have pace and technique

This is the fifth and final episode in a series on sarangi as a solo instrument.

There is unfortunately a dearth of sarangi solo recordings that are easily accessible on the internet. In such a situation, one can only get a glimpse of what the maestros of the past had to offer through this captivating instrument.

This column has previously featured the recordings of Sabri Khan, a leading sarangi exponent who hailed from Moradabad but made Delhi his permanent home, and Sultan Khan, an important sarangi player from Sikar in Rajasthan.

The first two tracks are extremely short and feature excerpts of duets by sarangi maestro Mohammad Sagiruddin Khan and violinist VG Jog. These recordings were made by the All India Radio and are now available amongst their archival releases. The nature and duration of the performances do not do justice to the sarangi maestro’s artistry, about which many have reminisced. Even so, here are links to the two tracks. The first features a drut laya or fast-paced composition in the raag Charukeshi. The second track also has a drut laya composition in the raag Malayamarutam. The compositions on both tracks are set to Teentaal, a cycle of 16 matras or time units. Both raags happen to be imports from the Carnatic system.

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Another significant sarangi exponent of recent times was Abdul Latif Khan, who lived in Bhopal. Known for his accompaniment to vocal music, he was equally acknowledged for his solo renditions. Here, he plays a madhya laya composition in Malkauns, a raag prescribed for the night. Set to Teentaal, the composition has a taan or swift melodic passage embedded in the sthayi or the first section. He demonstrates nimble finger technique as he produces a variety of taans, some of which reach the upper octave. He increases the pace of the composition towards the end.

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For music lovers who wish to listen to more sarangi players, here is a link to a website hosted by sarangi player and scholar Nicholas Magriel, who has recorded many exponents over several decades.

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