Indian talents win top honors at prestigious Aga Khan Music Awards-Art-and-culture News, Firstpost

Tabla player Ustad Zakir Hussain, Sindhi sarangi player Asin Khan Langa and sarod player Soumik Datta are on the list of winners announced by the prestigious Aga Khan Music Awards administered by the Aga Khan Music Programme, an initiative of the Aga Trust Khan for Culture. Classical sarangi player Dilshad Khan of gharana Sikar received a special mention. All four have their roots in India. Datta was born in West Bengal, grew up in Mumbai and moved to the UK when he was 14. The other three live in India.

Photo credit: Jim McGuire

They will be publicly honored in Muscat, capital of Oman, at a ceremony and affiliated events between October 29 and 31 in conjunction with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The master jury that named the winners and special mentions for the 2022 edition Aga Khan Music Awards (AKMA) includes HE Shaikha Hala Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Director General, Directorate of Culture and Arts at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities; Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, artistic director, Silk Road International Music Festival in Azerbaijan; Divya Bhatia, Festival Director, Jodhpur RIFF (Rajasthan International Folk Festival); Rachel Cooper, Director, Culture as Diplomacy at Asia Society New York; Yurdal Tokcan, Artistic Director, Istanbul State Turkish Music Ensemble; and Dhafer Youssef, Tunisian oud player, singer and composer.

In a phone call, Bhatia said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to be invited to serve on the main jury of AKMA and to work with my fellow jury members who are eminent professionals in the arts. from Turkey, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and the United States. States. Hundreds of entries were received, and it was our job as the main jury to review and deliberate on those entries. It was not easy to compile the final list from such a diverse group of exceptionally talented candidates.

These awards were created by Shah Karim al-Husseini, better known by his hereditary title of Aga Khan, Imam or spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims. According to a press release issued by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), these awards are given to “recognize outstanding creativity, promise and entrepreneurship in music in societies around the world where Muslims have a significant presence”. Shia Ismaili Muslims are a multi-ethnic global community speaking various languages ​​and spread across South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, North America and Europe.

In a phone call, Asin Khan Langa, said: “Yeh reward milna hamaare liye bohot badi baat hai. Iss award ke zariye hamaari community aur hamaare gaanv ka naam bhi hoga. Hum apne music ko, apni paramapara ko zinda rakhna chaahte hain.” (Winning this award means a lot to me. With this honor, the Langa community I belong to and my village will be known more widely. We want to keep our music and traditions alive.

He comes from a community of musicians in Badnava Jageer, a village in the Barmer district of Rajasthan. He sings and plays the Sindhi sarangi, a folk instrument that fascinates him. He also teaches music to Langa children. He is delighted to perform in Muscat with singer and khartal player Zakir Khan as well as dholak player Sadiq Khan. Their group is called SAZ, and the group name is derived from the first letter of each group member’s name.

Soumik Datta, who combines his background in classical Hindustani music with pop, rock, electro and film soundtracks, will be awarded for tackling issues such as climate change, the refugee crisis and health mind through his music. In response to an email seeking his reactions to the award, he said, “I am deeply moved to receive this award which also honors my guru (Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta), my parents and my mentors.” He is currently on tour with his show “Hope Notes”, which weaves refugee stories with sarod. He is also looking forward to a new album called “Silent Spaces” which will kick off this Diwali.

Indian talents take top honors at prestigious Aga Khan Music Awards

Soumik Dutta

Hussain will receive the special lifetime achievement award, honoring his “highly visible role model of enlightened cross-cultural musicality who elevated the status of tabla in India and around the world through countless artistic collaborations, concert tours, commissions, recordings and films.scores.In addition to his status as a maestro, his contributions as a teacher will be celebrated.He has mentored thousands of people who have attended his annual tabla workshops around the San Francisco Bay Area over the past 30 years .

In a phone call, Dilshad Khan said, “Artists crave opportunities to share their work. I am grateful to the jury for this great honor on a global platform where I can showcase India’s musical heritage. Asin Khan Langa will play folk sarangi and I will play classical sarangi at a performance attended by the Aga Khan and his family.

Indian talents take top honors at prestigious Aga Khan Music Awards

Dishad and Asin Khan

The AKDN press release says the winners and Special Mention recipients “will share a $500,000 prize as well as professional development opportunities.” What does this mean concretely? “These opportunities include commissions for the creation of new works, recording and artist management contracts, support for pilot education initiatives, and technical or curatorial advice for archival, preservation and music distribution.

The other winners and musicians who received special mentions from the Master Jury come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Mauritania, Indonesia, Tanzania, Iran and Oman.

Why does the Aga Khan feel the need to invest time and money in promoting music?
The Aga Khan regards music as a “strong spiritual anchor” that deepens “a sense of community, identity and heritage, while simultaneously powerfully reaching people from different backgrounds.”. He said this at the first Aga Khan Music Awards held in March 2019. He also claimed that “in some parts of the world the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘music’ are not often linked. in the minds of the public… But they should be.”

Chintan Girish Modi is a writer, journalist and educator who tweets @chintanwriting

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