Ustad Rashid Khan biography
Ustad Rashid Khan (b. Badayun 1966-07-01) is an Indian classical musician in the North Indian Hindustani music tradition. He belongs to the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, and is the great grandson of Gharana founder Ustad Inayat Hussain.
In a story told in several versions, it appears that Pandit Bhimsen Joshi said at one point, that Rashid Khan was the "assurance for the future of Indian vocal music". He was awarded the Padma Shri, as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2006.
He received his initial training from his maternal grand-uncle, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan (1912-1993). He is also the nephew of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.
As a child he had little interest in music. His uncle Ghulam Mustafa Khan was among the first to note his musical talents, and for some time trained him in Mumbai. However, he received his main training from Nissar Hussain Khan, initially at his house in Badayun. A strict disciplinarian, Nissar Hussain Khan would insist on voice training (sur sAdhanA) from four in the morning, and make Rashid practise one note of the scale for hours on end. A whole day would be spent on practising just a single note. Although Rashid detested these lessons as a child, but the disciplined training shows in his easy mastery of taan (glissandos) and layakaari today. It was not until he was 18 that Rashid began to truly enjoy his musical training.
Rashid Khan gave his first concert at age eleven, and the following year, 1978, he performed at an ITC concert in Delhi. In April 1980, when Nissar Hussain Khan moved to the ITC Sangeet Research Academy (SRA), Calcutta, Rashid Khan also joined the academy at the age of 14. By 1994, he was acknowledged as a musician (a formal process) at the academy.
The Rampur-Sahaswan gayaki (style of singing) is closely related to the Gwalior Gharana, which features medium-slow tempos, a full-throated voice and intricate rhythmic play. Rashid Khan includes the slow elaboration in his vilambit khayals in the manner of his maternal grand-uncle and also developed exceptional expertise in the use of sargams and sargam taankari (play on the scale).
He is also a master of the tarana like his guru but sings them in his own manner, preferring the khayal style rather than the instrumental stroke-based style for which Nissar Hussain was famous. There is no imitation of instrumental tone. His mastery of all aspects tonal variations, dynamics and timbre adjustment leave very little to be desired in the realm of voice culture.
Rashid Khan's renderings stand out for the emotional overtones in his melodic elaboration. He says: "The emotional content may be in the alaap, sometimes while singing the bandish, or while giving expression to the meaning of the lyrics." This brings a touch of modernity to his style, as compared to the older maestros, who placed greater emphasis on impressive technique and skillful execution of difficult passages.
Rashid Khan has also experimented with fusing pure Hindustani music with lighter musical genres, e.g. in the Sufi fusion recording Naina Piya Se (songs of Amir Khusro), or in experimental concerts with ghazal singer Talat Aziz and western instrumentalist Louis Banks. He also performs jugalbandis, along with sitarist Shahid Parvez and others.