Singer and Harmonium player Azad Iqbal Tabla Maestro Shahid Ali Khan
Eldest grandson and only descendant of Pakistani poet-philosopher Mohammed Iqbal (1877-1938) blessed with the gift of writing poetry, Azad Iqbal is a seasoned singer, harmonium player and composer who entered the world of eastern classical music in 1975.
During this musical evening in Jeddah, he sang and played the harmonium, a popular hand-pumped keyboard instrument that plays an integral part in many genres of South-Asian music and is commonly accompanied by the tabla.
Before starting his performance, Azad gave a brief introduction on Indian classical music to the guests who sat on carpets, in line with the traditional style still in vogue on such occasions.
“Volumes have been written about Indian classical music, an art mainly based on improvisation and which needs years of hard work to be mastered. I can simply say that all musical traditions are based on a family of 12 notes and one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music is called raga, literally meaning "color, beauty or melody". A raga uses a selection of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is constructed”, explained Azad.
"The way notes are rendered in musical phrases and the mood that they convey is more important in defining a raga than the notes themselves. That's why improvisation plays a central part in the execution of ragas", he added.