Raza Khan
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Raza Khan

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | MAJOR

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | MAJOR
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Feb
13
Raza Khan @ Motisar Dunes in Pushkar (bus leaving from Ananta Spa

Pushkar, None, India

Pushkar, None, India

Oct
18
Raza Khan @ WOMEX 2012

Thessaloniki, None, Greece

Thessaloniki, None, Greece

Sep
30
Raza Khan @ RASA

Utrecht, None, Netherlands

Utrecht, None, Netherlands

Music

Press


I never had such a great experience which I felt with Raza Khan’s style of singing.

Whether it was Anoop Mishra, an exponent from the Benaras gharana, or Jyotsna Srikanth, a Carnatik-genre violinist, or Raza Khan, a rustic Punjabi Sufi singer from Amritsar, Indian musicians hogged the limelight during the just-concluded 8th Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival here. All three Indian musicians won the hearts of Warsawians with their talent.

Mishra got ample opportunity to showcase his mastery of light classical music. Rarely do people in Poland get a chance to appreciate the intricate feelings of old ragas. Most of the artists who come from India are generally instrumentalists. Jyotsna Srikanth followed that tradition with her superb control over this western instrument, which now has become an essential part of Carnatik music.

However, the maximum applause was reserved for Raza Khan for his magnificent rendering of Sufi qawwalis. For many people it was a novel experience and they seemed to be in a trance.

‘In my interaction of 30 years with Indian music, I never had such a great experience which I felt with Raza Khan’s style of singing. Raza Khan and his group will achieve great heights in the short term. This artist has a very rich voice, which is fabulously suitable for Sufi qawwalis. We are lucky that we have found him and invited him for this festival, which is his first international experience,’ Festival Director Maria Pomianowska said.

Pomianowska love for Indian music started in the early 1980s when she went to India to learn to play the sarangi from Pandit Ramanarayan and Ustad Sabri Khan. It is because of her dedication to Indian music that in the past she had invited flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the inventor of the Mohan veena, to the Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival.

The Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival has become an important landmark in the history of music festivals in Eastern Europe.
- Millennium Post


Raza Khan is one of the most amazing singers I’ve heard in my life. Truly.

"one of the most amazing singers I’ve heard in my life"
I’ve heard technically excellent singers before. I’ve been moved by impassioned singers before. I’ve been cleansed by deeply spiritual singers before. I’ve been transmuted by the experience of listening to singers who embody all of those qualities before; but never to such an alarming degree as I have to the voice of India’s Raza Khan.

Raza Khan is a Sufi singer of qawwalis (spiritual songs that attempt to channel the divine that exists within us by communing with God). He comes from the Indian Punjab and was brought up from the age of 7 in the musical schooling of Sham Chourasi Gharana, a 500 year old musical tradition, under the tutorship of Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan.

Khan is extremely unusual in that Sufism is usually associated with an Islamic sect, but Raza is (possibly uniquely) a Sufi Christian (Pentecostal to be exact). Some might see this as a contradiction in terms but Khan (in a recent interview with RockPaperScissors) sees it thus:

“Sufism only has to do with love. It is not the property of any one religion or sect. It is universal. The whole idea is discovering how people can live with one another. This belongs to entire humankind”

"an astounding range of registers"
As with the world’s most legendary Sufi singer - the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Raza Khan performs supported by a ‘party’, a group of accompanying musicians, who sit round him and play instruments, clap and sing and set up the musical framework that he then sculpts with his voice. A voice that is capable of operating in an astounding range of registers, mimicking the entire range of his harmonium and more.

"had me gasping for air"
I’d only heard him on CD before, which was impressive enough, but it was seeing and hearing him perform live at Womex 2012 (the largest gathering of world music professionals on the planet) that had me gasping for air and having to almost pop my eyeballs back in. Since I don’t understand the intricacies of the music or the languages it is sung in, I can only write at an emotional level.

The concert, held in the Vellidis Theatre at the Helexpo Centre in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, was slightly delayed as the previous performance (by an Egyptian singer) held in the next door hall had overrun and Khan’s party had to stand on stage and wait awkwardly until they could take their places seated cross-legged on the special raised platform on the stage.

The party consisted of three men whose job throughout was to maintain the tempo and build the trance by clapping, a tabla player (the paired drums of the North Indian sub-continent), a singer and a harmonium player who also sang.

As the dying notes of the Egyptian band died away, Raza Khan came on to polite applause and sat down in the midst of his party (all students of his) in front of his own harmonium.

Qawwali music tends to take many minutes to settle in as we gradually align our bodies to the rhythm of the tabla and the relentless claps, whilst the harmonium swirls around, gently playing with the melody and Raza Khan explores the theme with his voice, almost toying with it, prodding and poking, stroking and shaking the tune and the words, investigating it from different angles.

The claps continue and the trance deepens. Khan starts to play around with musical stops and gaps. People start to applaud thinking the song is over, but like synchronised divers leaping off the top board, the musicians land back in the beat bang on cue. By the third or fourth stop people have learnt not to clap and sit through the tension and wait for the release.

There’s a lot of humour in the performance - which might seem strange at first since there’s an obvious deep sense of respect for the tradition and for the spirituality of the occasion, however humour there is. Khan plays with the dynamics and the sounds he can produce with his voice, from soft susurrations to excitable yelps. He constantly moulds and changes the density, the texture and the tone of the music that he creates.

There is a high degree of improvisation and musical impulse in this performance. He is clearly moving the tune along as his soul dictates in the instant and his accompanying students are keenly tuned into his nuances. You begin to understand that he has probably never played a song the same way twice in his life. Every time you think you’ve got the measure of what he’s doing, he turns it upside down and shows you another aspect of the song.

After a few minutes one of the accompanying singers takes over from Khan for a short while, with a voice that sounds unnaturally high and stark, and the same song takes on a different hue. We hear the melody with different ears. He stops and Khan takes up the theme again. I am already entering into the trance, being carried away by the music, really enjoying how his voice constantly change - WorldMusic.co.uk


Warsaw, Oct 1 (IANS) Whether it was Anoop Mishra, an exponent from the Benaras gharana, or Jyotsna Srikanth, a Carnatik-genre violinist, or Raza Khan, a rustic Punjabi Sufi singer from Amritsar, Indian musicians hogged the limelight during the just-concluded 8th Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival here. All three Indian musicians won the hearts of Warsawians with their amazing talent.
Mishra got ample opportunity to showcase his mastery of light classical music. Rarely do people in Poland get a chance to appreciate the intricate feelings of old ragas. Most of the artists who come from India are generally instrumentalists. Jyotsna Srikanth followed that tradition with her superb control over this western instrument, which now has become an essential part of Carnatik music. However, the maximum applause was reserved for Raza Khan for his magnificent rendering of Sufi qawwalis. For many people it was a novel experience and they seemed to be in a trance.
"In my interaction of 30 years with Indian music, I never had such a great experience which I felt with Raza Khan's style of singing. Raza Khan and his group will achieve great heights in the short term. This artist has a very rich voice which is fabulously suitable for Sufi qawwalis. We are lucky that we have found him and invited him for this festival, which is his first international experience," Festival Director Maria Pomianowska said.
Pomianowska has always been an Indophile. Her love for Indian music started in the early 1980s when she went to India to learn the sarangi from Pandit Ramanarayan and Ustad Sabri Khan. It is because of her dedication to Indian music that in the past she had invited Hari Prasad Chaurasia, a great flute player, and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the inventor of the Mohan veena, to the Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival.
"We need Indophiles like Pomianowska to promote Indian art and culture in Poland. She is a great asset for us as we are projecting India's soft power in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, these days. The time has come for us to open a culture centre in Poland as we have done in many West European countries. I have suggested to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to look into this matter for their future plans," Indian Ambassador Monika Kapila Mohta told IANS.
The Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival has become an important landmark in the history of music festivals in Eastern Europe. Ever since Poland joined the European Union in 2004 it has become a major destination for world-renowned singers and musicians. Here the great exponents attempt their very best to get invited. Somehow Indian artists have been luckier than others as they regularly participate here.
(Surender Bhutani can be reached at suren84in@yahoo.com) - Yahoo News


Raza Khan – Intoxicating Blend of Simplicity and Intensity

Available for Booking 2013

“I’ve heard technically excellent singers before. I’ve been moved by impassioned singers before.
I’ve been cleansed by deeply spiritual singers before. I’ve been transmuted by the experience of
listening to singers who embody all of those qualities before; but never to such an alarming
degree as I have to the voice of Raza Khan.” (Glyn Phillips, WorldMusic.co.uk)

RAZA KHAN is a Christian Sufi singer who crosses the boundaries of the genre including Indian and
Western classical and jazz influences, great amount of improvisation and supernatural scale of
voice. Raza has studied music for 30 years and performed in India for last 20 years in front of crowds
reaching 100.000 people. In 2012 he toured five European countries and performed at WOMEX, the
biggest gathering of world music professionals.
Raza Khan is available for booking worldwide in 2013.

” You have to do a lot of practice, but what you are actually going to perform is not in your hands.That comes in the moment.” RK

EPK: http://www.sonicbids.com/RazaKhan

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivNGPc4EcX4

PRESS:
Review of WOMEX 2012 showcase: http://www.worldmusic.co.uk/raza_khan_womex_2012_thessaloniki_181012
Review of Warsaw Cross Culture Festival 2012 performance: http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/indian-musicians-dominate-warsaw-cross-culture-festival-073811042.html
Case study by RockPaperScissors: http://www.dubmc.com/dubmc/2012/11/storytelling_casestudy.html

LATEST RELEASE:
http://dekulture.com/proddetail.aspx?id=41

CONTACT INFO:
Berenika Rozanska
Management: De Kulture Events
events@dekulture.com
phone: +9101414023967, mobile: +918696577095
www.dekulture.com
www.bluelotusfestival. - De Kulture Music


Call of the soul

Raza Khan is Sufi singer, musician and composer who lives a simple life despite his musical genius. He was born in Batala (Punjab) and started learning music at the age of 7 under Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, who belongs to Sham Chourasi Gharana, a five hundred year old musical tradition from Hoshiarpur, Punjab (a state in northern India). Raza Khan is also affiliated to the Mausiki Gharana tradition. His ancestors were related to Tansen, one of the greatest exponents of Hindustani classical music. Raza Khan displays an extraordinary vocal range that parallels the accompaniment of the harmonium regardless of the upper or lower range it may exceed to. He makes the transition from modular vocals to falsetto with ease and his vocal style is characterized by long sustains in the upper register. It is this style that distinguishes him from other mainstream Sufi artists.

In this album, “Call of the soul”, Khan creates an ambience of devotion through three unique Sufi Kalams (Songs). Each Kalam differs from the other but ultimately all connect the listener with the supreme power. His music makes use of instruments such as the Harmonium and Tabla while rhythmic claps are used as embellishments. The compositions in this album are semi-classical in nature and have been improvised upon and performed by Raza Khan himself. Raza’s objective is to create his own variation of traditional art and he continues to incessantly work towards the same.

1.Nasihatein

‘Nasihatein’ literally translates to advice and this Sufi piece brings forth certain patterns of behavior suited for an ideal living. Bade vasoof se duniya fareb deti hai- the world ditches us with a lot of conviction and Bade khaloos se hum etbar kar lete hai- we trust it with a lot of pure heartedness. Dokha devega guroor tenu kade na kade- your beliefs and the pride you place in them shall let you down some time or another. karna chaida hai shor tenu kade na kade- you must raise your voice at one time or another. chad badiyan te neki da khayal kar le- stop doing bad deeds and think about doing some good. rab puchna tenu kade na kade- God will ask you at some instant or another. A classical piece, this composition it is replete with spacetimes of raga renditions. Such potency of poetry needs a depth of rhythm to bring forth its essence and though the lines sung are very few, the duration of the piece and its prosody give the right kind of room for comprehending their multi-layered meanings.


2. Jede Vi Darte

This piece is sung in praise of the almighty and it is said that all those who submit to him attain to the aims of existence. jede we dar te aunde, Shab Bediyan banne londe- all those who come to your door, their boats bank ashore. Mavan di god bharen dukhiyan de naal rave- you bless mothers’ laps with the gift of children and always remain with those who are suffering. Tu tan vichde melda vein, Meri bedi paar laga de- you allow separated souls to meet, please take my boat to the shore too. Existence in Hindu mythology is often referred to as the ocean and ones life as a boat which is constantly rocked by the waves and the storms in the vastness. To reach ashore and not drown midstream is what devotees pray for.

3. Dukh raj raj data nu sunaiye

The fleeting nature of existence and the importance of putting ones faith into the almighty during its crests and troughs are sung of here. Dukh raj raj data nu sunaiye- tell the almighty of all your pains. Nabi rasool sath chad ge ne yara beliya da- all saints die and go away leaving behind their friend and lived ones. Asa we tur jana Bua maar ke sab haveliyan da- even we shall have to go shutting all doors on the palaces. Dukh raj raj dat data nu sunaiye melene vichdana- this meeting and separation shall go on forever Kal kahbren na ral ke kahiye- no one knows what shall happen tomorrow so let us get together and say today Aj data nu dil di kahiye- that we shall tell the lord what lies in our heart t - De Kulture Music


Call of the soul

Raza Khan is Sufi singer, musician and composer who lives a simple life despite his musical genius. He was born in Batala (Punjab) and started learning music at the age of 7 under Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, who belongs to Sham Chourasi Gharana, a five hundred year old musical tradition from Hoshiarpur, Punjab (a state in northern India). Raza Khan is also affiliated to the Mausiki Gharana tradition. His ancestors were related to Tansen, one of the greatest exponents of Hindustani classical music. Raza Khan displays an extraordinary vocal range that parallels the accompaniment of the harmonium regardless of the upper or lower range it may exceed to. He makes the transition from modular vocals to falsetto with ease and his vocal style is characterized by long sustains in the upper register. It is this style that distinguishes him from other mainstream Sufi artists.

In this album, “Call of the soul”, Khan creates an ambience of devotion through three unique Sufi Kalams (Songs). Each Kalam differs from the other but ultimately all connect the listener with the supreme power. His music makes use of instruments such as the Harmonium and Tabla while rhythmic claps are used as embellishments. The compositions in this album are semi-classical in nature and have been improvised upon and performed by Raza Khan himself. Raza’s objective is to create his own variation of traditional art and he continues to incessantly work towards the same.

1.Nasihatein

‘Nasihatein’ literally translates to advice and this Sufi piece brings forth certain patterns of behavior suited for an ideal living. Bade vasoof se duniya fareb deti hai- the world ditches us with a lot of conviction and Bade khaloos se hum etbar kar lete hai- we trust it with a lot of pure heartedness. Dokha devega guroor tenu kade na kade- your beliefs and the pride you place in them shall let you down some time or another. karna chaida hai shor tenu kade na kade- you must raise your voice at one time or another. chad badiyan te neki da khayal kar le- stop doing bad deeds and think about doing some good. rab puchna tenu kade na kade- God will ask you at some instant or another. A classical piece, this composition it is replete with spacetimes of raga renditions. Such potency of poetry needs a depth of rhythm to bring forth its essence and though the lines sung are very few, the duration of the piece and its prosody give the right kind of room for comprehending their multi-layered meanings.


2. Jede Vi Darte

This piece is sung in praise of the almighty and it is said that all those who submit to him attain to the aims of existence. jede we dar te aunde, Shab Bediyan banne londe- all those who come to your door, their boats bank ashore. Mavan di god bharen dukhiyan de naal rave- you bless mothers’ laps with the gift of children and always remain with those who are suffering. Tu tan vichde melda vein, Meri bedi paar laga de- you allow separated souls to meet, please take my boat to the shore too. Existence in Hindu mythology is often referred to as the ocean and ones life as a boat which is constantly rocked by the waves and the storms in the vastness. To reach ashore and not drown midstream is what devotees pray for.

3. Dukh raj raj data nu sunaiye

The fleeting nature of existence and the importance of putting ones faith into the almighty during its crests and troughs are sung of here. Dukh raj raj data nu sunaiye- tell the almighty of all your pains. Nabi rasool sath chad ge ne yara beliya da- all saints die and go away leaving behind their friend and lived ones. Asa we tur jana Bua maar ke sab haveliyan da- even we shall have to go shutting all doors on the palaces. Dukh raj raj dat data nu sunaiye melene vichdana- this meeting and separation shall go on forever Kal kahbren na ral ke kahiye- no one knows what shall happen tomorrow so let us get together and say today Aj data nu dil di kahiye- that we shall tell the lord what lies in our heart t - De Kulture Music


Discography

Call of the Soul
Glimpse of Punjabi Music
Unheard Punjab

www.dekulture.com

Photos

Bio

According to his own beliefs, Raza was destined to become an artist long before he was born in a small village of Punjab in a religious family of music tradition. Raza started to learning music from his father when he was 7 years old. He has been inspired by Nazakat Ali Khan, Salamat Ali Khan, Mia Shaukat Khan, but his main guru was Shafqat Ali, who introduced him to a five hundred year old musical tradition of Sham Chourasi Gharana. Although he performs Sufi genres like Ghazals, Qawwalis, Kalams or Kafis, his strive for improvisation, make s him introduce the elements of Indian and Western classical music or even jazz in his compositions.

He has been performing on big scenes in India since 1994 and recently begun to perform at international platforms (Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece). However, Raza is always eager to perform for religious purpose, as he believes that there should always be harmony in the way one performs the music and lives the life.