Vilayat Khan

COMPOSERS: Vilayat Khan
LABELS: Navras
WORKS: Raga Shahana, Raga Bageshree
PERFORMER: Vilayat Khan (sitar), Shujaat Hussain (surbahar), Sabir Khan (tabla)


Go to any concert of North Indian classical music now and you will be surprised by the stacks of CDs laid out to lure you. Collections of full-length performances have arisen to fill the display space. The Nimbus and Navras catalogues are expanding at speed, with the latter dominated by live recordings from London, reflecting its current status as a world centre for performance to match the Indian cities.

The two-disc set by father and son, Vilayat Khan and Shujaat Hussain, comprises one 94-minute duet from a Royal Festival Hall concert. As it unfolds on a scale that makes Wagner sound short-winded, the steady alternation of the sitar with its deeper-toned sibling, the surbahar, generates a proper sense of occasion.


They run out of inventive steam near the end, but cumulative energy carries them through. Nimbus prefers studio sessions, which don’t have the same atmosphere, but suit the more intimately expressive genres.