Ustad Amir Khan- online repertoire

Ustad Amir Khan was such an enigma that most people have not been able to analyse the reason for the appeal of his music. Anyhow this link that I shared above is a compilation by someone who was kind enough to permit me to use from his site. Here it is the entire thing, though the link in the opening line, takes to his blog or site.

Ustad Amir Khan

“Amir Khan’s music combined the massive dignity of the dhrupad with the ornate vividness of khayal.” — Susheela Mishra in the “Great masters of music” series.

Ustad Amir Khan (1912-1974) was among the greatest and most influential Hindustani vocalists of the twentieth century. To quote Ustad Faiyaz Khan (from Susheela Mishra’s article ), “One must play with a raga with a lover’s passion. One must learn to love it to pay court to it, like a cavalier, and then alone can a musician tell the story of joy and grief; of laughter and tears. Music must please and move.” This is an apt description of Ustad Amir Khan’s music. Amir Khansahib had an intellectual’s approach to Hindustani music while always managing to bring out, with great sensitivity, all the emotive aspects of a raag.

As is well known to insiders, much of the recordings of great Hindustani musicians languishes in private collections. In recent years, thanks to the internet and the generous efforts of people at and and numerous others on websites like, a large number of recordings are now freely available online to music lovers. Unfortunately, these collections are often hard to locate. I have attempted here to put together a list of recordings by Ustad Amir Khan along with links to recordings online. This is just a beginning; I hope that, over time, and with the help of other fans of Amir Khansahib, I will be able to make this a more comprehensive list so that these gems are easily accessible to all music lovers who have access to the internet. Many links appear and disappear in time; I would appreciate information regarding broken links and any new links that may have appeared.

Musicography with links to online resources

  1. Abhogi “Laaj rakhi lee jo mori” on youtube
  2. Abhogi “Charan dhar aayo” on
  3. Adana on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  4. Adana “Muhammad Shah Rangile” (78 RPM) on youtube
  5. Ahir Bhairav: Vilambit khayal “Jago re bande” on youtube on
  6. Ahir Bhairav: Chhota khayal: “Piya para been parama sukha chatura” on LP/tape recording titled Surmanjari. AK’s composition.
  7. Ahir Bhairav: Chhota khayal
  8. Aiman (Yaman): on
  9. Aiman (Yaman) kalyan: on
  10. Amirkhani Kauns: Madhya laya “Paar karo” AK’s composition.
  11. Asavari Todi on on Rajan Parrikar’s site
  12. Bageshree: “Bahu guna kamna” on Rajan Parrikar’s site and on LP/tape recording
  13. Bageshree: “Kaise kate rajni” (from the film Kshudito Pashan, with Protima Banerjee) on youtube
  14. Bageshrikanada: “Gore gore mukh par” on
  15. Bahar on
  16. Bairagi: “Man sumarata” on
  17. Barwa on youtube and on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  18. Basant Bahar: “Parana koyaliya kuka rahi” on youtube on
  19. Basant Mukhari: “Prabhu daata” on and on
  20. Bhatiyar: “Nisa dinana” on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  21. Bhatiyar: “Barani na jaye” on youtube on
  22. Bhimpalasi
  23. Bihag “Kaise sukh” on youtube on
  24. Bilaskhani Todi: on
  25. Chandni Kedar Ye ri tu dhana dhana
  26. Chandrakaunsi: tarana on Patrick Moutal’s website
  27. Charukeshi: “Laaj rakho tum more” on . AK’s composition.
  28. Darbari: “Mori aalee, jab se bhanaka paree” (piya ke awan ki) on
  29. Darbari: “Tumari jay jay karta”
  30. Darbari: chhota khayal “Yare man biya biya” (Persian). AK’s composition.
  31. Deshi with D.V. Paluskar: “Aaj gawat man mero” on youtube
  32. Deshkar
  33. Gaud Malhar (short live recording) on youtube
  34. Gurjari Todi
  35. Hansdhwani vilambit: “Jaya maate” on youtube on
  36. Hansdhwani dhrut: tarana on
  37. Harikauns
  38. Hemkalyan on
  39. Hemkalyan on
  40. Hindol Basant
  41. Jaijaiwanti on youtube and on
  42. Jog: “O balma” on youtube on
  43. Jog: tarana on
  44. Jog: tarana (in Persian). AK’s composition.
  45. Kafi Kanada
  46. Kalavati “Anmaani Piya So Rahat Hai”
  47. Kalashri
  48. Janasanmohini: “Kaun jatan ” on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  49. Kaushikanada vilambit on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  50. Kaushikanada dhrut on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  51. Khamaj thumri “Piya ke aavan ke” on
  52. Komal Rishabh Asawari “Jagat Sapna” on youtube or on . AK’s composition.
  53. Lalit Vilambit khayal: “Tadapath hoon jaise” on
  54. Lalit Chhota khayal: “Tadapath hoon jaise” (second version) on LP/tape recording
  55. Lalit (“Jogiya mere ghar”) in opening credits of the film “Raagini” on youtube
  56. Lalit (“Jogiya mere ghar”) with a Farsee anthara added (perhaps his own composition) on youtube
  57. Lalit khayal: vilambit “Charan kaise aavu”, dhrut: “Jogiya mere ghar aaye” on
  58. Madhukauns “Bairanbhai Rain” youtube and on
  59. Malkauns: “Jinke man Raam” and “Aaj more ghar aali na balma” on youtube on
  60. Malkauns: tarana on youtube (with video)
  61. Malkauns: “Jinke mana raam” mehfil recording on
  62. Malkauns: “Lagi la manwa” live recording. AK’s composition.
  63. Marukalyan on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  64. Marwa Vilambit khayal “Jag bawra” on LP/tape recording and (poor quality recording) from a concert in Pune on AK’s composition (?)
  65. Marwa Vilambit khayal “Piya more anat des” on
  66. Marwa chhota khayal “Guru bin gyan na pave”. AK’s composition
  67. Megh “Barkha ritu aaye” on
  68. Megh tarana on
  69. Miyanmalhar “Karim naam” on
  70. Miyanmalhar and Ramdasimalhar “Karim naam” on
  71. Multani vilambit “Jaako mana Allah” on
  72. Multani dhrut “Balma mohe tumso laagali preet” on
  73. Multani “Daya karo hey girdhara gopala” bhajan from the film Shabaab on R. Parrikar’s website on
  74. Nand youtube or on esnips (part 1) on esnips (part 2)
  75. Nat Bhairav: “Sumaranko” on esnips
  76. Pancham Malkauns bandish
  77. Priyakalyan (or Ramkalyan) on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music . AK’s composition. He also created the raag.
  78. Priyakalyan “Sarmad gham-e ishq” Persian composition. (clip from an interview) AK’s composition. He also created the raag.
  79. Puriya bandish title
  80. Puriya Dhanashree “Tori jay jay karta” on
  81. Raagmala with Bismillah Khan Sur Malhar, Bageshree, Chandrakauns, Ramkali, Bhatiyar, Desh. From the film “Goonj Uthi Shehnai”. on youtube.
  82. Rageshree “Beguna ko guna de” on youtube (with video) and Patrick Moutal’s online collection (video) and on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  83. Ramdasi Malhar Chhayee Badariya Kaari
  84. Ramkali on on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  85. Shahana on youtube
  86. Shree “Hari ke charana kamala nisadina sumarana re” on and on youtube
  87. Shuddh Kalyan “Karam karo” on youtube and “Mandara Bajo Re”
  88. Shuddh Kalyan tarana on
  89. Shuddh Sarang on
  90. Suhakanada on The Vijaya Parrikar Library of Indian Classical Music
  91. Suha tarana on youtube Suha sughrai
  92. Todi vilambit and madhya laya (“Man ki panchi”) on AK’s composition for madhya laya.
  93. Todi vilambit (“Ja re ja pathikava” (Sadarang)) and madhya laya (“Man ki panchi”) on AK’s composition for madhya laya.
  94. Todi tarana (short recording) on
  95. Mian Ki Todi, All India Radio programme, vilambit khayal “Shagun Bicharo Bamna’ and drut ‘Garva Mai Sang Laagi’
  96. Yaman vilambit jhoomra on youtube (Kishori Ray’s links) , continuation: also on youtube (Kishori Ray’s links)
  97. Yaman kalyan “Kajra kaise daroon”. AK’s composition (?) and LIVE recording of Yaman Kalyan, Kalashree and Darbari (London) on youtube

If you know of others, please let me know the name along with (if possible) information about where to find them. Many of the bandish titles above are probably misspelled, especially the ones with question marks, since I have relied almost entirely on guess work. If you notice any mistakes on this page, please inform me, thanks.

My email address:

I am grateful to Daibashish Gangopadhyay for corrections and additions to the above list. Bhuvanesh Bhatt also provided corrections.

Several of the recordings listed above are available online at these wonderful repositories of Hindustani music:

A short Films Division documentary on Ustad Amir Khan can be found here.

Perhaps the best website devoted to Ustad Amir Khan is one put together by John Campana and others at the University of Toronto: Amir Khan memorial website.

Canadian Journal of Music Therapy- please download paper and connected (introductory) paper directly here

In case you are using this link, kindly look at the right hand of the main blog and you see a widget, from which you can directly download any of the papers I have shared there. This post is only meant to facilitate further dissemination of my research- no other reason.

Additionally I have shared an informal bit of writing which explores the reason why someone ought to write their story, post recovery or what it offers to others. How one story is a possibility for others, if its ideas are morphed to suit the situations of another life, is what this paper talks about.  I felt that my story is the narrative of a musician, so does it mean that non-musicians cannot utilize the benefits of music or its therapeutic potential. All these ideas are shared as part of the writing called Recovery Stories foreshadow other recoveries.

I just (1st august 2014) discovered another way to share research publicly. Here is the link to that. Am trying in my own limited ways to reach the this inquiry to more.

When the guru aligns with you

I did not know that Saturday was guru purnima. Neither did Madhuri aunty, my guru, when she called in the morning to say that we could do an extra class together. I notice for the last few days she is generally happy with teaching me, and is more generous in sharing complex compositions that she has acquired over a long span of learning with her own teachers.

On Thursday, 10th July 2014, we started with Raga Lalit- a raga that I have always founded complicated and liable to go off-key easily in. But may be because I had not sung it in the last nearly two decades, nor learnt again ever after taking the exam in my teenage…it just came easily this time. Aunty gave me the option of one khayal, which could be either raen ka sapna or arre mann ram. Since I had learnt the former in my younger years, and its poetic appeal to my mind was not very high, I chose the latter. And both of them are uploaded here. In any case most bandishes for me are now about Bhakti or music is, or perhaps life itself is.

(The first bandish which talks about the night’s dream, perhaps alluding to the illusion of ignorance, which is akin to living in darkness of the night- does not really attract anymore. I find in it an element of lament that the illusion has been shattered, because the dream seen in the night is so confusing that the person who has seen the dream is unsure who to share it with.)

raen ka sapna, kaa se kahoon apna

(who shall I share the dream with, the one I saw in the night?)

When aunty heard me sing the khayal, she was so happy that she said she might teach me an extra class on Saturday. As per promise she called on Saturday morning herself and said we would have an extra class. I just thought what a turnaround life is – once upon a time there was a time when extra-classes looked like such an anathema. And now? A blessing from above. This is what I mean by the guru’s energy coming into your line with your own, when they are now willing to share their knowledge with you freely and by choice, by seeking you out. I have no gratitude to express, for I came close to this situation so many times earlier in my life, but never quite THERE- so now I am. Deepest gratitude to life, my teachers, my torturous road and my family in all parts of the universe.

Neither of us knew it was guru purnima that day, till another of her disciples called up to offer her regard and pranam to Aunty. And then for the first time in my life I had a strange feeling, that on guru purnima, this was the first time perhaps that my guru was ‘shining on me’. Purnima after all means the full moon. In general our learning is steady and progressive.

The next day she taught me a traditional bandish in the same and today an Jaipur gharana bandish. I hope to cover the one that Amir Khan saheb immortalized – for that is the final frontier for me. But even if I do not, for it is not important to sing the exact bandish, but the style is what matters ultimately, and fortunately I have learnt the pathway of that- rest is my honing, if I can.

Tarana and Amir Khan Saheb- timeless art

A few days back (April 23rd, 2014) I posted this link

to- my facebook page

just to save it for my own reference for later on. Now am doing with same by putting it down on my blog, for perhaps at that time this idea did not occur or the blog itself was not in place.

Amir Khan Saheb was among the greatest of musicians of the Indian subcontinent. To the extent that though it is decades that he passed away, his music is still as fresh, as deep, as mesmerizing and standing equally as tall as it may have during his time, or is it that in the passage of this time, he has become bigger? Not sure about it.

The interview that I am sharing here was recorded by the BBC Radio. He talks about the tarana as a form of song in particular and what got me saying ‘wow’ was that till I heard the interview I did not know that the words used in the tarana had any meaning, for according to what I had heard and been handed down to me, it was some meaningless phraseology utilized by musicians. Yes, in the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, where I was once a student (in 1997-8 perhaps in the MA class then) I was told that the original phrase had been ‘om anant hari narayan’ and that was turned around to meaningless words- nom, tananana, dere, tom, etc etc etc…and I believed it! This interview clarifies the meaning of the tarana and where it germinates from. Of course we all know about Amir Khusro as the father of the form.

That brings me to the fact that I was just discussing with my own guru, Madhuriji about tarana and I wanted to learn something in Hamsadhwani…and guess what she said? “No there are no taranas going around in Hamsadhwani!…except for the Indore gharana one!!”

I could not believe it. Wow! I thought Amir Khan was the only one who created a tarana in Hamsadhwani…and wonder of wonders, I heard Kishori (ji) Amonkar singing it. That is one musical great saluting another. When I discussed this with someone, they said that she does that, she sings whatever bandishes she likes. That is I think another sign of greatness, and something we all younger lot can take a leaf from as well. (then why the hell should I also not sing the same?!)

Anyhow, I did not learn the tarana in Haunsadhwani/Hamsadhwani, but in Puriya Dhanashri, this morning at 11am 🙂

Timelessness of daily living

I just sat for a few minutes of meditation awhile back. Within a few minutes the rain came pouring down, and with my closed eyes I experienced it. And I did. I suddenly felt that in that brief torrent, I heard the ocean, then the river, and then the rapids of the river, also the waterfall.  how timeless it all felt suddenly- as though I was someone always meditating and listening to the crashing waves close by. My mind went into a strange twilight zone and a sudden timelessness, I was no longer there where I was ONLY- I was also somewhere else! I was a hermit with a flowing beard (which I identify as my higher self), I was a soldier facing the river trying to cross it on horseback- where the river flowed, I have no idea. I was not a body after all, just a mind, just a consciousness watching the play of the mind.

I opened my eyes and realized that only a few minutes had passed actually- but somewhere my taut nerves had relaxed and I felt connected to that deep cosmic timeless zone that I had experienced long back, in moments of ecstasy that had put me in rapture, for I could not contain the joy of finding such a fount of silence, within me and also see its connection with the cosmic, or the continuum of the two.

I do not know what the cosmic is by the bye. It is certainly not something that any religion can explain, neither I want the explanation another mind can offer. Either one would experience it or one would aspire for it, s/he who knows of its appeal or presence. Nothing for the sense to perceive or engage with- it is in the domain of consciousness. Oh yes, many can alter their consciousness and see its play…but it is a great trick and not easy to negotiate.

But I must say that in that momentary experience I felt recharged in a matter of moments. Even in the past this had transformed my music, making it more serene, placid and non worldly, for it did not really bother itself with rewards and visibility that we as artists yearn and aspire for, by way of recognition and concerts. May be I too aspired for the same, or still do, but this connection to the internal river of timelessness simply does not make me ambitious in the least. I just create my art and then leave it. Of course I am deeply hurt that I do not get invited to perform or showcase the art the way I ought to. But instead of pushing my art and work forward if I engage my mind in research all the while, who will take me for the artist that I am.

So that brings me to the question- what is timeless within the arts? What makes for great art? One person can be a great artist, and not really an artist known to the public and one can be shallow yet have a fan following in millions. The mind gives its own answers sometimes.

I thought to just hear the sound of this rain- it is a timeless sound, and it comes from all sides- rivers, water falls, oceans and even big lakes. the greatness of art does not lie in the moment but in time- for that is where it belongs. At present there may not even be people around who can judge the true merit of an artist, his/her mind, craft or anything, or the artist may be in a situation where the art itself does not get out, and get its due.  Thinking about Van Gogh and Mozart remind me only of lives of people suffering immensely and living lives of social misfits and possibly ignominy. And what about the ones who were considered great in their times? How many of them stood the test of time?

In the march of history lies the destiny of great art- they were creating art for the sheer love of that expression and as a communication of their soul’s angst, not to pander to the lowest common tastes of the masses. Automatically someday the art got noticed, but the artist was gone. The soul got attention, while the body had already perished. So many even lived in great poverty. When I think of Kabir, what he said six centuries ago seems to hold water even today- is that not great poetry, which when I sing in my 21st century voice, also seems to communicate my present reality or the reality of the times we live in.

The timelessness of our art lies on the same timelessness of life, if we can join the two dots together – for that is where we will see all great art lying also, even if we remain invisible or unseen as artists. We can take heart that we are doing good work, with recognizing the universal in the personal, living our daily affairs yet also living in history…we are nothing and yet history lives through us, time moves through us.

This photo here was taken by me in Bhaktapur in Nepal…it is a village square which is full of old style temples of the Hindus and Buddhists. There is a certain uncanny feeling one gets while in this place- you suddenly are surrounded by such old forms and structures, that you think that you are living in the pages of a History book or a plot of a movie. It is almost eerie. But there is a certain timelessness there. in choosing this picture to go with this post, I just wanted to focus on that- timeless art.Image

Music pedagogy- the pathway that isn’t

I recently got an email with this content-

On a Mian Ki Todi

“ Salamat Ali Khan was initiated into classical music together with his elder brother Nazakat Ali Khan under the able guidance of their father Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan at the tender ages of five and seven respectively. They were initially taught the basis of dhrupad but later concentrated on learning khayal due to its increasing popularity. It was only after two years of training that they made their debut at the prestigious Harballabh Mela in 1941. They performed raag Mian ki Todi and were highly appreciated by both the audience and musicians present, these included Ustad Abdul Aziz Khan, Pandit Krishanrao Shankar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Umeed Ali Khan, Ustad Tawakkal Hussain Khan, Ustad MalangKhan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Ustad Salamat Ali Khan recalled the performance in his autobiography; “we were so small that we had to be lifted onto the stage” ( courtesy : Sadarang Archives) 

Mian Ki Todi by Salamat and Nazakat Ali Khans:

As music pedagogy has been one of the foremost areas of my concern, and should I say brooding, this story is another testimony about how there are NO PATHWAYS for learning music in the Indian subcontinent, neither for achieving any level of learning or proficiency. People become great not necessarily because they are truly great or gifted, but by virtue of birth, family connections and the push their families, environments and connections create for them. In this anecdote the person cited says how within two years of learning they were pushed on the stage by an over-enthusiastic parent and perhaps thereafter lapped up due to sheer novelty of a child/children singing.

Contrast this with my own learning, years of practice and hard work, and innumerable meditations and khyals of my own (   and the fact that despite this much effort since there is nobody there to push someone like me to the stage, I would perhaps never really get there, for in these many years of whatever I have been doing, the punch and the verve it requires to get out and get there, has simply vanished from my system and neither am I afflicted by the modern disease of fame. I only want to be heard, which is the due of every artist who has worked for years on their music, but anyhow that is not for me to determine. But then this is how destiny works in a poor, backward country like India- you gotta have connections, or languish with your music in solitude!

In other words, and this brings me to the subject of this blog- there is no fixed path that a musician can take which would lead them to either learning or creating a vocation in music. You can start at seven and become a celebrity by 13, start at 39 and become great by 45…who knows, or die unheard by anyone. In this kind of uncertainty music naturally suffers, for it is dependent on the chance of all these factors coming together, and they are not likely to come together very frequently for a lot of people, except for those whose parents are already in the field and they would create un-natural advantages for their own progeny over their disciples.

Put it differently, the field of classical music teaching is nearly bereft of a proper method, which can be propagated across a whole subcontinent- wow! what a huge loss. No doubt there are many teaching institutions and shops proliferating- but a place where research, teaching, training and interdisciplinary inquiry is happening is just not there. And that is where my heart lies.

Nat Bhairav and deeper waters


Today I began my new innings in learning music once again, after a break of nearly a decade, in the course of which much musical work was done- including writing, research, performances, albums, lecture-demonstrations, dialogues on music, workshops, advocacy about music pedagogy and music therapy.

But this, my own new beginning is like the start of a new chapter all over again, and I began it with Nat Bhairav (nat means acrobat in Hindi actually). This is a befitting raga to begin with for it is new for me, I have grown over the years as a student and as a learner, and something new is the best place to begin and then re-visit the old friends of the past.

In this span of time, from the time where I stopped learning with aunty in 2002-03, I learnt till about 2005 with Amarjeet didi, the rudiments of the Indore gharana gayaki of Ustad Amir Khan, which was codified by her own guru, Pt. Amarnath. But Khan saheb’s style is so beautiful and serene that the grip it has on the consciousness of millions even decades after his demise is something quite remarkable and unsurprising. Who can decode it apart from the ones who train in his style?

The pity is, and I learnt it with my communication with Sudip, which was a confirmation of my earlier communication with Bindu didi also, that not all the students of Pt. Amarnath or even  Amarnath-ji himself  taught identically. So every student would have something different in his/her repertoire in the name of ‘gayaki’.  Indeed when I had shared with Bindu what didi had taught me, she immediately pointed out that there was a missing link, which she provided.

Wow! That is quite sad indeed and funnily enough most musicians in our times say that they are inspired by Ustad Amir Khan, which implies they are either singing his compositions or trying to copy his style of singing, which nobody can. Reminds me how a few months back (certainly over 12) I heard Gokulotsav-ji Maharaj, who said he was inspired by Ustad Amir Khan also! But his gayaki was such a far- cry from Khan sa’ab, that I could not sit through to hear him even for the first raga, though he is such a great scholar of music, with nearly 5000 compositions of his own!

I have been toying in my inquiry for years what is it about Khan saheb’s gayaki that makes it so unique and why nobody else could produce its replica, even though people can copy the style. The feeling I have is that there is a philosophical difference in the manner in which Khan saab approached his music and how those who followed him did. Perhaps this needs a longer discussion than a blogpost…and may be in one of my future writing on music, this would be a subject to work on, within the larger framework of bhakti music.

So anyhow, coming back to Nat Bhairav, I would be learning with Madhuri aunty over the skype and hopefully intersperse this with going and spending some time with her, in her home in the future, the manner I did in 2008 and 2011, a few days at a time. That intense learning is a great experience. But learning at home also has its own advantages, which is saved time and effort. So back again to being a student- feel good about it, because hopefully this time around, the learning would be goal oriented, unlike the past where it was almost recreational or maybe an escape to get out of home, and from my illness, which would choke me constantly. I have written about it in the paper Making Song, Making Sanity (coming soon, in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy)

So here we go again, another life, another chapter, another level of musical training, after the first three decades of engaging with music at numerous levels- another nosedive into deeper waters. Insha’allah.