The Resonance Between: Sarodist Alam Khan, Sitarist Arjun Verma and Del Sol Quartet Collaborate on New Music Album

Sarodist Alam Khan and sitarist Arjun Verma have collaborated with the ‘Resonance Between’ team to create a unique and seamless fusion of Hindustani classical and contemporary jazz music. Alongside Khan and Verma, the collaboration includes composer Jack Perla and the Del Sol Quartet, with tabla players Ojas Adhiya, Ishaan Ghosh, and Nilan Chaudhuri.

Alam Khan, who grew up in the U.S., considers himself a product of the “MTV generation,” but his craft is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition of the Maihar gharana, where his father, sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, was a renowned exponent. As a result, Khan has become known for his unique amalgamation of different genres, often referred to as ‘Crossover music.’

‘The Resonance Between’ is a sonic exploration of the ancient ragas of the East and the beautiful harmonic architecture of the West, finding the meeting point between the two. Khan attributes its roots to the vision and innovation of his father and grandfather, Allauddin Khan. He explains that the music speaks to their individual and collective journeys of discovering a unique space of identity and creation in a multicultural upbringing.

Arjun Verma, a disciple of the senior Khan and the son of sitarist Roop Verma, emphasizes that music is a universal human phenomenon, transcending cultural boundaries. The Del Sol Quartet, known for their mastery of 21st-century chamber music, have previously collaborated with various non-western traditions. However, this collaboration marks their first with the sarod, sitar, and tabla.

The quartet’s violist, Charlton Lee, explains that they are building a musical bridge between their upbringing in western classical music and Hindustani classical music. For them, this involves adopting the subtle nuances of pitch and groove from the composers they work with, as well as developing stroke styles in their bowing to blend harmoniously with the sounds of the sarod and sitar.

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Shaping this grand experiment into a unique sound where each component stands out while blending effortlessly together proved to be a challenging task. However, experienced composer Jack Perla thoroughly enjoyed the process of collaborating across cultures. He believes that there is no fixed process to music, rather it is a journey that allows him to expand his musical vocabulary and expression. Working on cross-cultural collaborations requires him to let go of familiar habits and embrace different ideas and ways of organizing sound, melody, harmony, rhythm, and orchestration.

Perla describes ‘The Resonance Between’ as a real hybrid, leaning toward a North Indian frame. He credits the seamless final result to prioritizing the instincts of Alam Khan and Arjun Verma over his own as a Western composer. While he often had the impulse to provide quick contrasts and sharp relief, the musicians insisted on keeping things simple, akin to the elemental and forceful qualities often found in the works of Beethoven.

The collaboration between these talented musicians represents a successful blending of styles, creating a musical bridge that celebrates the richness of both Western and Hindustani classical traditions. ‘The Resonance Between’ is a testament to the power of music as a universal language that transcends boundaries and brings people together in unique and beautiful ways.

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