SAKAR KHAN (1938-2013), KAMANCHA (KAMAICHA, KAMAYCHA) MAESTRO
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of the legend. Padma Shri Sakar Khanji passed way at home in Hamira, Rajasthan on August 10, 2013. His family, including his sons Ghewar, Firoze and Darra were with him at the time of his death (approximately 1:30 am at night). His funeral procession takes place today August 10, 2013 in Hamira and will be attended by Manganiyars and musicians from all over the region.
- Padma Shri awarded in 2012 - India’s highest civilian award for his contribution to Indian music
- Has performed with violin legend Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison (of The Beatles). Numerous international performances, including those at major festivals in the US, France, Japan and USSR.
- Tulsi Samman awarded in 1990 by the Madhya Pradesh government
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1991
- "At Home: Sakar Khan" released in September 2012
Sakar Khan (1938-2013), from the village of Hamira in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, was unarguably the greatest kamancha player to have graced this earth. A magician with the instrument, a musician's musician, yet an unsung treasure. Not just for the Thar desert where he comes from, but for the vast swath of land extending west to parts of Europe. Sakar Khan played a very special instrument, to a specially high level. The roots of the ‘kamancha’ (also spelt kamaicha, kamaycha, kemancheh) go back to the 8th century. A bowed instrument with a goat skin sound box and three main gut strings with 14 sympathetic metal strings, it harks back to the lost bowed Raba'ab of Arabia, and perhaps further, in terms of both geography and time.
May 17, 2012: Sakar Khan and The Train
How much of folk music is owed purely to tradition? And how much of it is a work in progress? Does their immediate environment inspire folk musicians? Or do they just rely on retelling the stories handed down? Sakar Khan, nearing 80, a Sangeet Natak Academy award winner and Padma Shri (there’s a small picture of him receiving the award from the president on his wall) answers all these questions at once—with his kamancha as usual.
You hear a slow train moving out of a little station—like Hamira, Jaisalmer, say, where Sakarji lives—feel its locomotive breath with every movement of his bow. It gathers pace, acquires rhythm. A journey has just begun. The train service to Jaisalmer began only in 1967. It was felt, after the 1965 war with Pakistan that this great town on India’s western frontier was too strategic to be cut off. A line was thus extended from Pokhran. When it was inaugurated, Sakarji, already established as the finest exponent of the kamancha—that ancestor of the violin from central Asia that Rajasthan’s Manganiyars have made their own—was there to receive the first train.
'Global Beats' featuring Barmer Boys - BBC World Service Radio, Nov 8, 2015
"Latitudes: The Global Music You Must Hear In June" - NPR Music, June 30, 2015
"Creating a maximum groove with minimal means" - MixedWorldMusic.com, May 2015
“Incandescent Sufi voices that incite ecstacy” - Songlines, Sep 2014
“Barmer Boys steal the show.. with their unique folk tunes, truly stood out at the festival” - IBNLive at NH7Weekender Festival, Nov 2014
“Mangey Khan’s voice needs to be heard to be believed” - Hindustan Times, Feb 2012
"The music rose above the repetitive tunes we hear in today’s clamorous folk market and was like a whiff of fresh air" - Indian Express, Nov 2012
"Definitely near the top of my list of personal all-time favorite radio sessions" - Robert Weisberg, Transpacific Sound Paradise, WFMU 91.1FM
(Listen to the session online at the WFMU Station archives)
Barmer Boys are the next generation of performers that carry forward the centuries-old musical traditions of the Manganiyars and are the global ambassadors of contemporary Rajasthani folk and Sufi music. The trio meld traditional Sufi and celebratory songs with the acid twang of the morchang (Jewsharp), the staccato rhythm of the dholak (two headed Indian drum) and beatboxing, creating a sound unique to the band! The band's versatility of styles and bubbling energy infuses each performance - from soulful Sufi kalaams to uplifting wedding and celebratory songs, songs of love and remembrance, to boisterous jams with beat-boxing and live DJ sets.
The group formed in 2011, and has performed with a host of world renowned artists including Vieux Farka Tourè, Bombino, BaBa ZuLa and Madou Sidiki Diabatè. They have performed at the Amarrass Desert Music Festival (2011, 2012), The Elders Conference, Escape Festival, Bhakti Samaroh and more. The group made their international debut in 2014 with shows at Roskilde Festival ’14, Borneo World Music Expo ’14, a US debut with a coast-to-coast tour in April ’14, and have been wooing audiences on television screens, cinema halls and festivals in India including MTV CokeStudio Season 3, NH7 Weekender ‘14, IIT Mood Indigo ’14 and Jaipur Literature Festival ’15. Barmer Boys have since toured Canada, Europe and Hong Kong, and featured on BBC Radio's Global Beats program.
- Barmer Boys were featured artists on Season 3 of Coke Studio at MTV India (August 2013)
- Debut album "At Home: Barmer Boys" released in Dec 2012 on Amarrass Records (4 Stars - Songlines)
- Performed at Roskilde Festival 2014 with their set between shows by Outkast and The Rolling Stones!
At Home: Barmer Boys (AMAR 008) CD | mp3
Single take recordings at home in Ramsar, Rajasthan
Featured on Season 3 of Coke Studio on MTV India, Barmer Boys represent the next generation of folk from India. Folk with attitude. 21st Century folk.
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