Rais Khan

  • Birth Name Rais Khan
  • Born 25-11-1939
  • Occupation Artist
  • Year Active 1948
  • Origin Indore, Madhya Pradesh, British India
  • Career Graph

    Career beginnings

    Ustad Rais Khan (born 25 November 1939) is a legendary Pakistani sitarist born in Indore, India.In the different lines of gayaki ang (where the sitar plays the material of singers more than those of instrumentalists) Ustad Rais Khansaheb is the torchbearer of the Mewat or Mewati Gharana (lineage),which is connected to Indore and the beenkar baj gayaki ang (singing style combined with rudra vina approaches) carried out by Ustad Rais Khan's father Ustad Mohammed Khan,one of the greatest rudra vina (been) players and a great sitarist himself.This lineage goes back to the court musicians of the Mughal Emperors. Amongst the Khayal and dhrupad doyens, Rais Khans gharana is a lineage containing the masters Haddu Khan,Hassu Khan, Bande Ali Khan,Nathan Khan, Babu Khan, Wazir Khan, Waheed Khan,Murad Khan,Latif Khan,Majid Khan,Nazeer Khan,Amanat Khan and Rajab Ali Khan of Devas,Madhya Pradesh.From maternal side, Ustad Rais Khan is descendant of great sitarists of Etawah Gharana. Ustad Rais Khans mother was the elder sister of Sitar legend Ustad Vilayat Khan.Like wise Vilayat Khan had influence of his brother in law Mohammad Khan (Rais Khans father) in his earlier phase of career,Rais khan has also been influenced by his maternal uncle's style. The Sitar he plays is Gandhar Pancham Sitar which was standardized and designed by Ustad Vilayat Khan only.Ustad Rais Khan was one of the youngest musicians ever to have earned the title of Ustad citation needed from authorized committees at a time when the title used to be bestowed and not merely taken up by ones own will.As Rais Khans mother was a stellar singer and his father was a master beenkar,and because of his lineage going back to Hassu Khan and Haddu Khan, a unique combination of Khayal (the most popular classical vocal style),Dhrupad (the older and most orthodox classical form) and thumri (lyrical semi classical form) angs (approaches) developed in Ustad Rais Khans playing.He gave his first public concert at Sunderbai Hall in presence of the Sir Maharaja Singh (Governor).In 1955,he was selected from a huge list of competitors from all over the continent of India to represent the Indian nation at the International Youth Festival in Warsaw,where Ustad Rais Khan carried off the first prize and the gold medal for his virtuosity.He is also an accomplished vocalist and is the first one to record the geet Ghungroo toot gaye for BBC London in 1978.Rais Khan has been touring extensively throughout the world.His dynamic personality and genius have made him one of the most outstanding artists of or time.The fact that he is an accomplished vocalist accounts for much of his popularity.At the end of his recitals he often sings and demonstrates compositions,which thrills his listeners.Khan is a champion badminton player,a swimming champion,expert in car racing. He obtained a private pilots license as well.Ustad Rais Khans stellar recordings include the out of print Raga Jhinjhoti,Todi and Lok priya dhun.For sometime,Khansaheb had stopped playing concerts of classical music.He returned in the 1980s and was invited by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan to perform in California.Ustad Rais Khan moved to Pakistan after marrying a Pakistani lady.His son Farhan is the amongst the new generation of the torchbearers of the Mewati gharana,and sometimes performs with him.Although it is known that Ustad Rais Khans mother was Ustad Vilayat Khans sister,and Ustad Vilayat Khan is responsible for the gandhar pancham sitar,Ustad Rais Khans music is not of the Etawah gharana.Any analysis of his work will point that out.Rais Khans alapi,gatkari and gamaki work is entirely different in approach,pacing and even technique.Ustad Rais Khan himself has never claimed that he is from anything but the Mewati Gharana from Indore.It is true that the gandhar pancham sitar is Ustad Vilayat Khans design and Ustad Rais Khan used that.However,Rais Khans design of the angle of the neck is different from that of Ustad Vilayat Khans.This is for the dhrupadi gamaks of Rais Khan and his beenkari lineage. And for similar musical reasons,Ustad Rais Khan used to tune the sitar in D(Eb) in his younger days.It was unheard of to tune the sitar that high, and use a 4 gauge string at the same time.Pandit Nikhil Banerjee is the another sitarist of repute to have used a 4 string approximately.015 Because of the sitar and because of extensive meend work it can be easily mistaken that Ustad Rais Khans lineage has Etawah influences.It is so as far as the instrument,but not much farther than that.The Mewati concept of Ragdari is of a different nature than the Etawah concept.

    Latest Awards


    • Pride of Performance Award

      Pride of Performance Award -2005
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    Rais Khan's Tracks on iMusti


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