Ravi Shankar.-AFP (file) Photo.

ISLAMABAD: On Friday night, audience at Kuch Khaas enjoyed the music of three sitar maestros paying tribute to Pandit Ravi Shankar, one of the greatest masters of the instrument.

Before the show began, the audience took their seats in front of a foot-high platform bearing a deep brown sitar, its long neck full of strings and tuners. Even to those unfamiliar with classical music, the sitar promised an evening of excellent performances.

The first performer, Shabih Sen, did not disappoint, beginning the evening with Raag Pahari and a Bengali folk piece. Sen, representing the eighteenth generation of sitar players from the Senia Gharana of classical music, displayed a sensitive, skillful control over his instrument.

Sen’s older brother, Ustad Waji Al Husnain, performed Raag Peelu, another classical piece whose quiet, dignified composition paid fitting tribute to the memory of Pandit Ravi Shankar. One of Pakistan’s most respected tabla players, Ajmal Khan, provided the accompaniment.

The concert ended with a performance by Amir Hussain Jalal, who offered the audience a wide range of sensations, moving with equal expertise from a subdued alaap to faster, rhythmic compositions. Ustad Nemat Ali accompanied him on the tabla.

The concert, arranged by Kuch Khaas and the Institute for Preservation of Art and Culture, was the seventh event in the ‘Instrumental ecstasy’ concert series. It was planned as a tribute to Pandit Ravi Shankar, the legendary Indian sitar player who died in December.

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