Out Today – Wu Man & Amjad Ali Khan’s ‘Music for Hope’
Pipa Virtuoso Wu Man and Sarod Grand Master Amjad Ali Khan blend Chinese and Indian music traditions on new recording Music for Hope, released by Zoho Records on September 23.
Internationally renowned for giving the pipa—a lute-like instrument with a history of over 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music, pipa virtuoso Wu Man’s newest recording, Music for Hope, brings together the musical traditions of India and China. The recording is a collaboration with the world-renowned sarod grand master Amjad Ali Khan and features his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, and percussionist Shane Shanahan. It was released by Zoho Music on Friday, September 23 and will be available on all major digital platforms.
The project began in 2021 when Mr. Ali Khan asked Ms. Wu if she would be interested in collaborating. Owing to the pandemic, each recorded their parts in their respective homes, Ms. Wu in Carlsbad, California and Mr. Ali Khan in Mumbai, India.
“I thought it was a very interesting idea,” said Ms. Wu. “Although both of our instruments are stringed and from the plucking family, we play them in different ways, each of us drawing from the musical traditions of our homelands. I was curious to see if harmony could be found in my distinctly Chinese improvisations over the structures and rhythms of the Indian raga tradition. I was very pleased to hear the result of these instruments, traditions, and histories blending together. To me, it highlights all of the things that our cultures share. It is the sound of unity, the sound of hope.”
The five tracks on the recording capture the spontaneity of improvisation while retaining and honoring structural traditions. The project expanded to include contributions and improvisations from Mr. Ali Khan’s sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, who are seventh generation sarod musicians, and American percussionist Shane Shanahan. It was produced by Mr. Ali Khan and multi-Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winner, Kabir Sehgal. Recorded at a time when the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in America experienced a wave of violence, the album is offered by the musicians in support of the AAPI movement, promoting harmony over discord.