Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan & Monilal Nag | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Music » Critic's Choice

Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan & Monilal Nag


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe



This concert offers a rare treat, a pairing of the sitar--the best-known Indian instrument in the West, thanks to Ravi Shankar and the Beatles--with the sheh'nai, a hard-to-find, oboelike double reed that produces a piercing, fluttering drone. Sitarist Monilal Nag is a master of Hindustani music (the austere classical style of northern India) and a student of the Vishnupur school, which is based on the subtle, highly restrained dhrupad singing of the north; his hushed improvisations are undeniably beautiful. I haven't been able to track down any recordings by Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan, which testifies to the obscurity of the sheh'nai even in Indian circles. Its best-known exponent, Bismillah Khan, almost single-handedly elevated the instrument from ritual use (most prominently in weddings) to classical status, but it's still not terribly common. Most sheh'nai performances feature a second sheh'nai playing a steady drone, but this performance will substitute tamboura. The tabla player is Subhen Chatterjee. Saturday, 6:30 PM, Oak Park Arts Center, 200 N. Oak Park, Oak Park; 630-415-2620. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photos.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →