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Music and spirituality

Jean During, a specialist in Central Asia and author of numerous books, here describes the particular characteristics of Ostad Elahi’s music, putting it in relation with his spiritual teachings. The questions examined are the following: Why is Ostad Elahi recognized as the “master” of tanbur? To what extent and how did he reinvent its musical tradition? What place did music have for Ostad Elahi? Can his music be qualified as “meditative”? Is Ostad Elahi’s spiritual teaching as singular as his music? The views presented in this brief interview, are more extensively developed by Jean During in The Spirit of Sounds: The Unique Art of Ostad Elahi (L’Âme des sons : l’art unique d’Ostad Elahi), 2003 by Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corporation.

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  1. Dan Sep 09, 2009 10:57 am 1

    Great stuff.
    Made me understand better Ostad Elahi’s music. It’s unpredictability was at times hard to digest for the layman that I am. I had to get acquainted to it and, in time, with practice, its “motions” became “e-motions”. Jean During brings much insight to this engaging musical experience.

  2. Mattttt Sep 21, 2009 12:07 am 2

    Jean During is a thoughtful musicologist, not only he understands ostad elahi’s music, but he examines it through his teachings and spirituality. He understands that ostad’s music is an experience beyond the strings and the lute itself, for some is the only way to truly understand his teachings and his way of life. Thanks for this great clip!

  3. Paolo Oct 25, 2009 9:14 pm 3

    Live interviews add a very personal and unique touch. Personal interviews are never tiresome, on the contrary, it is interesting to find out the different ways individuals came to know Ostad Elahi. I hope there will be more “live interviews” on this website in the near future.

  4. Ali Tinat(Zoghi). Dec 06, 2009 11:16 pm 4

    Jean During, both in his book-The Spirit Of Sounds-as well as in this interview has managed to analyze and describe the various modes, modalities, and nuances of Ostad Elahi’s music with exact precision, vivacity, and naturalness that is due to the works of such genius. I only like to add the following to the answers pertaining to the question:

    Why is Ostad Elahi recognized as “The master” Of Tanbour?”

    Malcolm Gladwell, author, journalist, cultural commentator and intellectual adventurer, in his recent book: Outliers, through a sets of in depth studies plus data gatherings based on the works of various genius’ has come to a new coinage he refers to as :

    The 10,000-Hour Rule

    In summary, the result of author’s data based on various fields, continuously points to the fact that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice for one to master his/her own field. Ostad Elahi has gone way beyond that considering by the age of nine he was already highly versed in the art of Tanbour. Try to imagine him when he was 24!

    P.S. Some samples of Ostad Elahi’s marvelous works of Tanbour would have been great addition here.

  5. f.j Jul 11, 2010 12:28 am 5

    This interview answers a lot of questions regarding the tanbur and Ostad Elahi. Great interview.

  6. neuro Aug 29, 2010 9:41 pm 6

    A great interview!! I most enjoyed the segment in which Dr During describes why and how Ostad Elahi made such a lasting impression on those who had the privilege of watching him perform… I can imagine how amazing it would have been to personally witness a Master at work.

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