Ustad Amjad, sons open for Year of India in Canada

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By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, March 22 -- Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan spend easily four to five months travelling around the world, enthralling audiences with their music. But their recent concerts in Canada, where they opened for the Year of India in the country, were some of their most memorable to date.

"We have played in Canada before, but representing our country like this is a huge honour. We feel fortunate to play for the Government of India," says Amaan, the younger brother. But it wasn't easy. The temperature in Canada fluctuated from minus 10 degrees to minus 30 degrees celsius. "That was the scary part. Our instruments are very weather oriented and extreme cold can play an important role in its sound," explains Amaan, adding, "Ayaan bhai and I were still okay, but our father doesn't enjoy the cold that much. What drives us is the audience's appreciation. Knowing that the whole venue was a sell out felt great."

The night that marked the epitome of their Canadian trip was meeting the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. "His presence at the event was a very special part of the entire tour. It is great to see an interest coming from a leader of a nation towards Indian tradition and music," says Ayaan.

Now the brothers are readying themselves to head to USA on March 28 for another season of concerts. "It gets a bit tiring, but for musicians, feeling that you're busy everyday feels good," laughs Amaan, adding that people get inquisitive about his brother and him, when they see them performing together.

"They have a lot of expectations when they see me, Amaan bhai and our father play together. I thank the Government of India for the last time we played at the UN. It felt great to be recognised as an ambassador of music and Indian culture."