Improvisation lies at the heart of both Indian and Persian classical music. According to Kalhor, “The music that we play together reflects the improvisatory styles of our cultures. This means taking a small idea or melodic form or phrase and developing it into something much larger, beyond its primary character.”
Kayhan Kalhor is a master of the kamancheh, the traditional fiddle of Persian classical music who has performed with and composed for some of Iran's greatest artists. As a son of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, Shujaat Husain Khan is a virtuoso sitarist and scion of one of the greatest families of Hindustani (North Indian) music. They are accompanied on tabla by either Swapan Chaudhuri, one of India's most acclaimed artists, or Sandeep Das, a rising star of the younger generation.
The Persian and Indian traditions are, in a sense, musical cousins. In fact, there is a connection that goes beyond the notes themselves: Several centuries of Moghul rule in northern India left a strong imprint on Hindustani music: a result of the mysticism, poetry, and musical subtleties of the Persian language and culture. The name Ghazal reflects that link: in the Persian tradition, a ghazal is a specific genre of poetry, characterized by an unusual blend of ecstatic spirituality and earthy desires. In India, ghazal has evolved into a form of semi-classical music that remains popular to this day, and usually takes the form of a love ballad.» (World Music Institute)
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