This October, Ghazal Ensemble, formed by two leading musicians from Iran and India, will bring to Hong Kong audiences a new listening experience in their concert "Ghazal - Persian and Indian improvisations". Joined by an Indian tabla master, the performers create an evocative dialogue between two ancient cultures combining lyricism and musical creativity. Tickets for the concert are almost sold out.
Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed Iranian virtuoso on the kamancheh (ancient Iranian four-stringed spike fiddle) while Indian master sitarist and vocalist Shujaat Husain Khan is a leading artist in North Indian classical music. They joined forces to create the Ghazal Ensemble in 1997 with a mission to fuse classical Persian and Indian music into a new form. In Persian tradition, "ghazal" is a genre of poetry mixing rapturous spirituality with worldly desires. In India, it takes the form of semi-classical music, usually a love ballad.
Ghazal Ensemble has astonished international audiences with its accessible, cross-cultural approach to two great individual traditions. A critic from The Independent, UK, appraised their performance as "one of the most perfectly judged fusions I've ever heard".
In the coming concert, Kalhor and Khan will be accompanied by tabla master Yogesh Samsi. Together, the three maestros will present a lyrical showcase that transports the poetry and music of 13th-century Silk Road kingdoms to present-day Hong Kong.
Kayhan Kalhor was born in Tehran, Iran. His performances of Persian music and his many collaborations have attracted audiences around the globe. He has travelled extensively throughout Iran, studying the music of its many regions. Kalhor has toured the world as a soloist with various ensembles and classical orchestras. He is co-founder of the renowned ensembles Dastan and Masters of Persian Music. Kalhor has composed, performed and recorded with Iran's greatest artists. He is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, with whom he continues to tour the world.
Yo-Yo Ma said that Kayhan Kalhor "cares so deeply about music and Persian tradition and when you hear him play, you know, I swoon, because I realise I'm in the presence of someone who is just a total master".
Shujaat Husain Khan performs regularly at major music festivals in India and throughout Asia, Europe and the US. His style, known as "gayaki ang", echoes the subtleties of the human voice while his charismatic vocals gracefully harmonise with the enchanting music. In 2001 he was awarded the Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sammaan, India's highest honour for a classical musician under the age of 45.
The Los Angeles Times said "Shujaat Husain Khan's work in the gayaki ang style is rich with vocal sounds produced by sensuously sliding melodies".
"Ghazal - Persian and Indian improvisations" by Ghazal Ensemble is one of the programmmes of the Silk Road Arts Festival presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be staged at 8pm on October 17 at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets priced at $120, $200, $280 are available at URBTIX outlets. A meet-the-artists session will be held after the performance.
Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Discounts of up to 20% are available for full-price performing arts/film programmes of the festival.
A lecture demonstration, "Persian and Indian Music: Creativity in two cultures", conducted in English by the two top musicians, will be held at 8pm on October 16 at Chiang Chen Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Admission is free with tickets which will be available from September 16 onwards at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Hong Kong City Hall enquiry counters. Tickets are distributed on a first-come-first-served basis, with a maximum two tickets for each person.
Programme brochures are available at URBTIX outlets and at the website www.silkroadfestival.gov.hk .
For programme enquiries, please call 2370 1044. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.hk . Credit card telephone bookings can be made on 2111 5999 and telephone reservations on 2734 9009.
Ends/Friday, September 11, 2009
Kayhan Kalhor (left) is an internationally acclaimed Iranian virtuoso on the kamancheh (ancient Iranian four-stringed spike fiddle) while Indian master sitarist and vocalist Shujaat Husain Khan is a leading North Indian classical musician. They joined forces to create the Ghazal Ensemble in 1997 with a mission to fuse classical Persian and Indian music into a new form.
Ghazal Ensemble will perform "Ghazal - Persian and Indian improvisations" in Hong Kong this October. Also performing will be the Indian tabla master Yogesh Samsi (pictured).