Alam Khan; sarode artist to take the stage in Camptonville |

Alam Khan; sarode artist to take the stage in Camptonville

Alam Khan began his training when he was 7-years-old in the traditional style of student and Guru.
Photo by Stian Rasmussen |


WHAT: Alam Khan

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31

WHERE: Camptonville Community Center, 15333 Cleveland Ave, Camptonville

TICKETS: $25 and can be purchased at BriarPatch Food or online at

INFO: Call 530-288-5016 for more information

“Wondrous Strange,” and imbued with a deep spirituality: we in the West were so moved by the introduction of North Indian classical music to Western culture (thank you George Harrison). The late legendary Sarode Maestro Ali Akbar Khan was at the crest of this mid-1960s wave.

Now, we have the opportunity to hear his son, Alam Khan. Warm, accessible and full of that wonder which touched a generation, Khan will present a music that goes back to the Vedic times in India.

On March 31, Terry Riley’s Sri Moonshine Music Series will present Khan.

Alam has been touching the hearts of audiences worldwide for decades. He began his training at the age of seven, blessed to learn and live in the traditional style of Guru and student. His father Ali Akbar Khan’s careful crafting and guidance shows in each note as well as in Alam’s imaginative way of expressing the ragas passed down from the courts of Emperor Akbar by Mian Tansen in the 16th century. Tabla master Sudhakar Vaidyanathan will accompany.

Describing the sarode, Alam said, “It’s a 25-stringed, fretless instrument played on the fingertips and the nails of three fingers on your left hand.”

With a goatskin head and a brass bell for amplification, the sarode bears similarities to a few instruments more familiar to Western ears. Alam compares it to “the Indian version of slide guitar, with a lot more picking patterns, like banjo.”

But, unlike those rustic instruments, the sarode — with its expressive resonance and rich overtones — has a heft to it. It quavers and aches, and the droning, sympathetic strings have a way of making time feel suspended.

“If you listen to a song on the radio — a rock song or whatever — it could just be an overwhelming amount of ‘This song is very sad,’“ said Alam. ”But if you listen to Indian music, it seems to me like it goes in and out of feeling sad. There’s joy, there’s sadness, there’s pathos, there’s heroism, there’s devotion, detachment, wonder.”

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31, performances at the Camptonville Community Center are available at BriarPatch Food or online at Call the Camptonville Community Center at 530-288-5016 for more information.

John Deaderick is a local theater artist and the author of “Make Sweet the Minds of Men: Early Opera and Tragic Catharsis,” available at

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