Speech by Ambassador Debabrata Saha at the Concert performance of Amjad Ali Khan
Ukrainian National Opera Hall, Kyiv, December 8, 2009
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this evening of classical Indian music, performed by one of its masters. We are privileged today to have with us here in Kyiv, Amjad Ali Khan, Master of the Sarod, and his group of very talented musicians. This is, indeed, a rare and wonderful opportunity.
Indian performing arts are, of course, no stranger to Ukraine. Numerous Indian dance performances are regularly staged by local Ukrainian organizations across the country. Concerts of classical Indian music, however, are somewhat rarer.
To make up for that we decided, with the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, to bring our best this evening, so that discerning music lovers in Kyiv can experience its special appeal and feel its captivating allure, even if they may not have had any exposure to Indian classical music earlier.
Few artists of classical Indian music are able to enthrall the audience as Amjad Ali Khan can. His sons Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, who are also performing this evening, have already established themselves by their distinctive skills as worthy heirs to their father's crown, and are seen by many as the 'coming masters.' Today's concert promises, therefore, to be remembered as one of the truly unforgettable Indian cultural events in Kyiv.
Amjad Ali Khan has performed all over the world - from the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival in Adelaide to the Edinburgh Music Festival in Scotland; from the Summer Arts Festival in Seattle to concerts at Schoenbrunn in Vienna. He is a recipient of many awards and honours, including from UNESCO. Amjad Ali Khan is also a National Ambassador of UNICEF.
Any arts needs - and deserves - the support of the community. While ICCR is the principal sponsor of today's event, without the generous support of ULTRATEST and Steel Mont Trading we would not have been able to organize this performance in Kyiv. I take this opportunity, therefore, to thank Rajesh and Kasturi Saraiya for so enthusiastically coming forward to support this event. I would also like to thank the Indian Tourism department for their support.
Last - but not least - I must mention the dedication and hard work of the cultural organizations Nakshatra and UFindarts in helping the Indian Embassy plan and organize today's event. I applaud, specially, Ganna Smirnova, Nakshatra's founder, for her longstanding commitment to promoting cultural relations between India and Ukraine.