Dara Khan

Dara Khan with the Manganiyar Seduction at Purana Qila, New Delhi Nov 2011

Dara Khan (b. 1976) Born in village Hamira (district Jaisalmer, Rajasthan), and son of Padma Shri awardee Sakar Khan, Darra learnt to play the kamancha at a very early age. Growing up in a family steeped in musical tradition, he was fortunate to be surrounded by uncles and cousins to play, practice and learn with. At age 12, he performed at the Sangeet Natak Akademi in Delhi. His first international performance was in 1999 at the Theatre du la Ville in Paris. Today, he is regarded as one of the best kamancha players around, having taken over performance duties from his father (who has now semi-retired and instead teaches youngesters at his home in Hamira). Dara Khan is part of the world-touring Manganiyar Seduction, has performed with Grammy-winning artists such as Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and has played at London's Royal Albert Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and at festivals in Europe and Australia.

About the instrument: The 17-string kamancha (or khamaycha) is a bowed instrument. Made of mango wood, its rounded resonator is covered with goat skin. Three of its strings are made using goat intestines (soaked in milk, hand stretched and cured over a period of several weeks) while the other 14 strings are steel.

Video: kamancha duet - Dara Khan accompanying his father, Sakar Khan (from the October 2011 field recording sessions)

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Video: Lele (the bird song) - Dara Khan, backstage at the UNDP Conference show in New Delhi, India (April 2012)

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Video: The train - Dara Khan, with father Sakar Khan and brothers Ghewar and Firoze at Hamira in Jaisalmer, India (May 2012)

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