• The Acoustican

Ustad Amir Khan

  • Birth Name- Amir Ali

  • Born Date- 15-08-1912

  • Occupation -Musician

  • Active Years- 1934–1974

  • Speciality -Merkhundi Taane, Indore Gharana

  • Originated- Indore, India

  • Languages. Hindi. Bengali. Persian

In Hindustani classical music there are many names one of them is Ustad Amir Khan a legend vocalist,and the creator of the Indore Gharana.Amir Khan was born in a Musical family in Indore,India.His father, Shahmir Khan, was a great sarangi player of the Bhendibazaar, at the court of the Holkars at Indore. His grandfather, Change Khan,was also a great singer in Bahadurshah Zafar's court. Amir Ali's mother died when he was only nine.He had a younger brother, Bashir, who was a sarangi player at the Indore station of A.I.R. Initially he was trained in the sarangi by his Father. But after seeing his interest in Singing, his father devoted more time to vocal training, focusing on the Merukhand Gayaki. 

Amir Ali exposed at very young age to different-different styles. He also learnt the basics of playing tabla  from one of his uncles, who was a great tabla player. in 1934, Amir Khan moved to Bombay and there he performed at few concerts.But his initial performances at Bombay were not well received. in 1936 ,he joined the court of Maharaj Chakradhar Singh of Raigadh Sansthan in Madhya Pradesh on his father's advice,but he stayed for a year. in 1937 Amir Khan's father die.Later, Khansahab lived in Delhi for some time and Calcutta also, but after partition of India he returned back to Bombay. Amir Khan created his own style of Gayaki,many vocalist influenced him some are Abdul Waheed Khan,Rajab Ali Khan and Aman Ali Khan.Later His Gayaki known as the Indore Gharana Gayaki. He presented Raagas with his own style of Gayaki Starting in ati-vilambit laya , by using bol-alap, followed by gradually speeding up  in sargams with various gamakas, taans and bol-taans, including Merukhandi Technique , and finally a madhyalaya and dhrut laya ,then chhota khyal or a ruba'idar tarana ,he rarely used tihais. He had great baritone voice with a three-octaves of range.According to the Book of  Mohan Nadkarni's  "Great Masters Profiles in Hindustani Classical Vocal Music", Amir Khan's was an introvert, dignified 'Darbari' style singer.Khansahab believed that poetry is very important in khyal compositions . Amir Khan researched for the tarana,helped by the Indian Govt. He often used Jhoomra and Ektaal ,he preferred simple thekas from the tabla player. His sarangi training played an important role in establishing him as a great vocalist. but he never used the sarangi. Amir Khan's first marriage was with Zeenat, sister of Ustad Vilayat Khan( a famous sitar player ). This marriage got failed and ended in separation. And married again with  Munni Bai, Munni bai gave birth to a son, Ekram Ahmed. In1965, Khansaheb married Raisa Begum, daughter of Mushtari Begum ( the thumri singer ) from Agra. With Raisa he had one son, named Haider Amir, later named as Shahbaz Khan.Khansahab died in age of 61 by car accident and was buried at Calcutta's Gobra cemetery,in Calcutta.

Image Source : Wikimedia

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