Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fes Festival Preview Concert - Ustad Daud Khan Sadozai

Ustad Daud Khan Sadozai gave a Fes Festival preview concert on Thursday, June 21, at the beautiful Riad Le Jardin des Biehn. Lauren Crabbe reports for The View From Fez

The setting was befitting of a master Robab (a traditional lute-instrument of Afghanistan) player, with cushions and rugs drawing an intimate crowd closer to the earth. The predominantly French audience was boosted by the arrival of an Australian tour group. They were entranced. The musician’s wise eyes and grandfather beard endeared me to him instantly and I was eager for him to play, though he seemed content to perch off to the side, pensively still. As Daud Khan began to play, a crisp breeze blew through the venue and a calming quiver found my heart.

Stirring the strings, he conjured notes that hopped and skipped and jumped, like the laughter of children running down a hill. A dizzying ebb and flow, moving through his fingers and swaying his entire upper body, warm as Norwegian wood or cradling the nape of a lovers’s neck. I heard golden sunbeams on soft carpet, weathered hands clasping, and the slight mourning of the heart when it realises it’s too cheerful. The sound of happy-sad.

His music appeared to be plucked straight out of enduring love, to the extent where I couldn’t tell if he was improvising or not. The performance was honest and heartening in a way that transcended context. His audience was serene and peaceful, and I craved the space to lie back with closed eyes in a bundle of fabric. A beautiful prelude to the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music.

Ustad Daud Khan Sadozai
Daud Khan, was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1955. He studied Robab with Ustad Muhammad Umar, who was the most famous Robab interpreter of the classical style as well as the traditional folklore style in his country.

The knowledge about building as well as playing the Robab has become rare, and only a few artists still keep the tradition of the classical robab-style which was mainly represented by Ustad Muhammad Umar in Kabul. Daud Khan is trying to preserve this authentic style of his master’s school.

Daud Khan has studied the North-Indian instrument Sarod, which is a descendent instrument of the Robab, with the great Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in India.

He will be performing in the Fes Festival with Jordi Savall on Jun 24th at Bab al Makina.


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