Shab-E-Taj: A Musical Odyssey

The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St, New York

Love rises where the sun sets. The dome hides the dying embers of the day as Sultan Shahjahan and his Queen, always inseparable, rise from their graves to spend one final night together at their palace. What words will we hear whispered through the moonlit halls of their Taj Mahal? Will the lovers recount their memories? Will they hold each other silently and gaze into each other’s eyes until the eyes they see staring back at them have become their own? Or will they weep into each other’s arms — one final night in the face of ephemeral love?

In the legendary 1967 album, A Night At The Taj, Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ustad Imrat Khan answer this age-old question: What would we do if we had one more day with the person we love? Ustad Vilayat Khan voices Queen Mumtaz on his sitar and Ustad Imrat Khan replies as Shahjahan from the deep notes of his surbahar. The final conversation between the Sultan and his Queen comes to life as the dewdrops dry and the gift of timelessness fades with the rising sun.

Love has intrigued us since the dawn of time. From Helene to Eleanor, love has ravaged empires. Love has led armies to war and emperors to abandon throne. Love has inspired the Bhakti and Sufi movements, volumes of soul-stirring poetry, and an endless collection of passionate music. And love will continue to intrigue us. It only makes sense to extend the ethereal journey undertaken by the two late maestros and to continue to find the stories of love that mark our human condition. On this fateful night, we will explore love and its many prisms. We will capture the angles at which love reflects, refracts, and intersects. We will see the endless shapes of love reflected on the wall of a dimly lit cave. We will sing these shapes into existence. We will tell stories about these shapes through Dastangoi, the lost art of Urdu storytelling. We will listen in awe as TM Krishna, Hidayat Husain Khan, Danish Hussain and Marina Ahmad undertake the voyage across this limitless sea to bring us pearls to relish the supreme and eternal human condition. We will experience an evening of exhilarating musical renditions, jugalbandis interspersed with storytelling and conversations, and the intimate mehfil-baithak will give rise to a unique theatrical experience. Like A Night At The Taj, this will be a night to remember.

Feat: Dan Husain (Actor) Marina Ahmad (Vocal) T.M. Krishna (Vocal) Enayet Hossain (Tabla) B. Sivaraman (Mridangam) C. Sharma (Ghatam) P. Bhattacharjee (Tabla) S. Ravi (Harmonium) Hidayat Husain Khan (Sitar/Vocal)

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