I’m visiting Seattle (as a part of another weekend road-trip). Within 5 minutes of reaching a friend’s place, I heard of an Ustad Amjad Ali Khan concert taking place, and attended.

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Amjad Ali Khan has played several times at Sawai Gandharva in Pune. In 2003, I happened to get a video of one of his performances. He played the Raga Khamaj. During his performance, he was precariously close to the tune of Ekla Chalo Re. So he took a detour, and played Ekla Chalo Re for a minute before going back to the piece he was playing. That was the first time I heard Ekla Chalo Re, and I still vividly recall that performance.

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Yesterday, he played Ekla Chalo Re. After a wait of almost 8 years, I heard it live. Worth every dollar I spent and the 15 hour drive.

The concert was in 3 parts, Khan saab solo, Amaan and Ayaan, and all of them together.

Khan saab avoided a raga vistaar in his solo, and instead played compositions. He started with Hamsadhwani, then played Ekla Chalo Re in Raga Khamaj, and last, a tune in Raga Kaafi. Stellar, as always.

Amaan and Ayaan were less amazing, and played Puriya Dhanashree (I think Hai Rama from Rangeela, Ruth Aa Gayee Re from 1947 Earth belong to this raga). The three together varied from great to cacophony.

But as I said, I got my money’s worth well before all that.

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The concert inspired me to get off my laziness and devote time to playing the instruments that are lying around in my room. I hope the inspiration lasts until I go back to California.

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