Ustad Imrat Khan, a prominent sitar and surbahar maestro died after a brief illness in St Louis, the US, where he lived for many years at the age of 83.
Imrat Khan (1935 – 2018) was an Indian sitar and surbahar player and composer. He is credited for keeping the art of playing surbahar alive.
He was the younger brother of sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan.
His father Enayat Khan and grandfather Imdad Khan were recognised as a leading sitar and surbahar player of their time.
Awards and Honours:
In 1988 he received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
In 2017, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, however he refused to accept the award stating it came too late.
Surbahar, sometimes known as bass sitar, is a plucked string instrument used in the Hindustani classical music
It is closely related to the sitar, but has a lower tone.
History: The surbahar was developed around 1825 by Ghulam Mohammed, a sitar player from the Awadh principality to combine the handling convenience of the sitar with the melodic potential and acoustic richness of the rudra veena.
Imdadkhani gharana (Etawah gharana):
Ustad Imrat Khan belonged to the ‘Imdadkhani gharana’, the school of sitar and surbahar performance named after his grandfather Imdad Khan.
It is also known as the ‘Etawah gharana’, after a small town close to Agra where Imdad Khan lived.
The gharana’s achievements includes –
the development of the Surbahar,
major structural changes to both the sitar and surbahar and
the creation of the instrumental style known as the gayaki ang (vocal style performed on sitar) by Vilayat Khan. This style of sitar is now known as the Vilayatkhani sitar.