Hindustani or North Indian classical music, a tradition that originated in the Vedic ritual chants, has been evolving since the 12th century. The sarod (or sarode) is a 25-stringed fretless instrument, used mainly in Indian classical music. Along with the sitar, it is among the most popular and prominent instruments in Hindustani classical music. The sarode is known for a deep, weighty, instrospective sound, with sympathetic strings that give it a resonant, reverberant quality and the ability to produce continuous slides between notes known as meend (glissandi), which is vital to the music. The sarode can be compared to the Afghani rabab, Western lute, and American slide guitar.
Alam Khan began playing the sarode at the age of 7, learning from his late father, the world-renowned sarodist, teacher, and NEA National Heritage Fellow Ali Akbar Khan. Alam learned from his father at his family home in Marin County, on tour with him around the world, and at the Ali Akbar College of Music. Alam can trace his musical lineage back to the 16th century.
As a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2014, Alam worked with his brother and apprentice Manik Khan, teaching him how to become a soloist and giving him the tools needed to be a professional performing musician.