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Shafaatullah Khan, master of both the sitar and tabla, will return to Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts to play a wide range of Indian music with several guest artists from India 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20.

Tickets cost $15 and may be ordered by calling the box office at 610-330-5009.

Lafayette’s Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence in 1999-2000, Khan will span the vocabulary of Asian-Indian music: plaintive song-like ballads, electrifying glissandos, lightning-fast cascades of sound, and elegantly decorated tonal patterns, all driven by the throbbing pulse and coloration of the tabla drums.

Khan first appeared at the Williams Center six years ago as tabla player for sitarist Nishat Khan. The younger Khan has returned to Lafayette several times since then, both as tabla player and as sitar artist, in educational programs with the college’s world music courses.

In the rich history of Indian classical music, Khan is the first known artist to have attained simultaneous excellence in performing on three different instruments — sitar, surbahar, and tabla. A scion of one of the most respected and renowned families of musicians of India, Khan represents the eighth generation in a line that can be traced over 400 years back to the golden age of the arts under the reign of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar of the 16th century.

Kahn began his career at an early age on sitar and surbahar under the tutelage of his father, Ustad Imrat Khan, who along with his brother, Ustad Vilayat Khan, have been recognized as two of the legendary maestros of the Indian subcontinent. Shafaatullah Khan later developed a passion for the tabla, studying under Ustad Ibrahim Khan, a well-known master of the most rare and ancient tabla compositions of varying regional styles.

Debuting in the King’s Lynn Festival opened by the queen of England, Kahn has since performed at many festivals and concerts around the world. He also has led lecture-demonstrations and conducted workshops at Harvard University, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, and Princeton University. At the invitation of the University of Pennsylvania, he taught in its Department of South Asian Regional Studies for three years.

Khan’s various recordings are available on Nimbus, Edelweiss, EMI, Lyrichord, Water Lily Acoustics, and several other labels. He has released three CDs produced by Deepak Chopra, in which he performed on the sitar/surbahar and accompanied himself on the tabla — a first in the history of Indian classical music.

The 2001-2002 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from members of Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts, and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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