Shakir Khan is one of the most promising young exponents of the legendary Etawah Gharana, energetically following in the musical footsteps of his prodigious father and guru — the sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan. Indeed, Shakir represents the eighth generational link in an unbroken chain of musical talent and tradition poured exclusively into the sitar and surbahar. A chain that includes, besides Ustadji, the musical legacy of Ustad Aziz Khan (Shakir’s paternal grandfather), and that of the patriarchal surbaharist Ustad Wahid Khan (Shakir’s great grandfather). He is also a close blood relative of the great Ustad Vilayat Khan.
As might be expected from such a pedigreed musician, his talent surfaced early in life, Shakir giving his first public performance at the age of eleven. Talent, however, is not enough to master the Indian classical tradition, and under the careful tutelage of his father, Shakir matured gradually through study, countless hours dedicated to practice (riyaaz) and frequent recitals. The work paid off, and in recent years Shakir has performed brilliantly for prestigious music conferences in India including the Dover Lane Music Conference (Kolkata), Sawai Gandharva music festival Pune. the Saptak Music Festival (Ahmedabad), Bombay Festival (Mumbai), the Tansen Music Festival (Gwalior), the Shankarlal Music Festival (Delhi) and many more. He has also performed extensively worldwide, bringing the joy and subtlety of the Etawah Gharana to audiences in the US, Canada and Europe – the latter including a performance at the famous Woodstock Festival in Poland in 2008.
His growth as a musician has allowed Shakir to accompany his father on stage on many occasions – a father-son duet that veritably explodes with energy . Shakir’s talent has also found official recognition, the young sitar virtuoso winning a Government of India merit scholarship and first prize at the All India Radio (AIR) Music Competition.
Like his father, Shakir Khan stands out for his exquisite sense of sur (melody) and laya (rhythm). He has equally been blessed with a seductive stage presence that quickly wins an audience over to his musical voice. Shakir is an incredibly warm, charismatic and open young person who has ably adapted his classical knowledge and skill in international fusion projects like the European Jazz ensemble called “Taalism”, Germany and “Human Evolution” , Spain . For this reviewer, however, Shakir is most to be treasured as the highly talented repository of one of the world’s oldest and greatest classical traditions. Shakir Khan performance will both inspire and astonish any attentive audience.