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Profile of the Month | Hidayat Khan

Profile of the Month | Hidayat Khan

There was so much pressure that he drifted away from music, but music was in his blood. On a recent visit to Houston, Texas renowned sitar maestro Hidayat Khan speaks to Lights Camera Action host Ruchi Mukherjee.

Many musicians are known for an arrogant attitude. However, Hidayat breaks that notion. Son of world famous Indian classical musician Ustad Vilayat Khan, Hidayat has been instilled with values of humbleness and dedication. “I very fondly remember my dad telling me to value and love the audience and never hold back from folding both your hands and bowing down with gratitude towards them,” says Hidayat.

Based in New Jersey, Hidayat Khan was recently spotted in Houston, Texas performing at a concert hosted by the Tagore Society of Houston. While in conversation with the junior Khan it was absolutely impossible not to get distracted and ask questions about the legendary Late Ustad Vilayat Khan, who was not just a musician with several titles and awards but “clearly knew to heal with the power of music,” recollects Hidayat. “There was a performance one time in Calcutta and the audience somehow was very mad at the organizers. I was getting all angry but then my father just left me speechless the way he handled the situation. He only had to speak to those thousands of people and requested them to calm down. It was stupendous to witness how they obeyed him,” says Khan.

Coming from a family of musicians Hidayat got the opportunity to perform at the tender age of nine in front of a high profile audience in Lucknow, India. However that was not the driving force for his passion. “At around the age of 15 I had so much pressure from distant family and friends that I got scared and frustrated,” said Hidayat. The passion for music was most definitely burning within him and so the hiatus did not last very long. When 19, after enough partying, Hidayat while enjoying a sunset felt very strangely hypnotized by its light and realized his calling (his sitar) and since then there was no turning back.

Hidayat has performed all over the world from Mumbai to Paris and The London Times very aptly said “And the tradition carries on impeccably”. One of the highlights of Hidayat’s performances is the melodic movements that completely replicates the human voice. His music has been described as multidimensional and Khan has participated in many Jazz Festivals. “I love my traveling with the Rolling Stones, and was taken aback with some 65,000 plus audiences,” he says.

What is the future of Indian Classical Music in the US?
The future of Indian classical music in the United States is very promising. Fusion concerts are different with an unique experience. Music is a universal language yet how you understand each other is very intricate and intense. It takes time to build that rhythm.

What are your recent projects?
At present very busy with a lot of concerts in New Jersey and New York and in October will be traveling for show in London. After great success with my album ‘Sawaryia’ I am busy working on my next album which will focus primarily on meditation with no electronic music. Then I have a Sufi album coming up, working on two Indian films and a fashion show with live music in Dubai.

Hidayat had the privilege to perform at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, Kennedy Center in Washington DC and is looking forward to his upcoming performance in New York at the Metropolitan Center. He believes that with sincerity and regular ‘riyaz’ (meaning practice) he can achieve artistic endeavor yet seldom get carried away in the business of entertaining.

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