Late Ustad Vilayat Khan (August 28, 1928 – March 13, 2004) saheb’s credits are many and establish him as one of the foremost musicians of India. He comes from a family of musicians who trace their lineage back seven generations, and he began learning Sitar at the age of three, performing by the age of eight. In addition to his Sitar training under the tutelage of his father, Ustad Inayat Khan, he also received Vocal training under his maternal grandfather, Ustad Bande Hussain Khan and uncle Ustad Zinde Hussain Khan. Vilayat practiced for up to fourteen hours a day, honing his skills to make him a master sitarist and an accomplished vocalist as well.
It is not surprising that Vilayat Khan’s unique contribution to the field of music is the creation of a revolutionary vocal style, gayaki ang, where the Sitar replicates fluidity and subtle nuances of the human voice. In addition, he has redesigned the Sitar to give the 700 year old instrument a deeper resonance. Music listeners will notice his beautifully distinctive style of playing, where he pulls rather than plucks the strings.
He is called the Aftab-e-Sitar, the radiant star of Sitar, a title conferred on him by the late President of India, Fakhiruddin Ahmed. He was awarded the Bharat Sitar Samrat by the classical artist association. He has performed at the royal courts of Iran and Afghanistan and has the unique distinction of have played at the Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II.
Gurur Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwara
Guru Shakshakta Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah
The Guru is Brahma, The Guru is Vishnu, The Guru is Shiva,
The Guru is verily Brahma, Salutations to that Guru!