HUMAYUN KHAN – Afghan-American (Vocals & Harmonium)
Originally from Afghanistan, Humayun’s family moved to Washington, DC, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980. Humayun grew up in a culturally-oriented family, an atmosphere rich with traditional music and literature. He began studying Indian classical music from Shuba Sankaran in 1990, and after receiving an Apprenticeship Grant from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities, extended his vocal music studies with her until 1992. He then traveled to Calcutta, India to began formal training in classical vocal music under Ustad Vilayat Khan, considered to be the most influential sitarist of his generation. Vilayat Khan is credited with the introduction of the gayaki (vocal) style into instrumental music, which brought to the sitar the subtleties and expressiveness of the classical vocal tradition. In 1995, Humayun began receiving additional guidance from the senior Pakistani artist, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, developing his own versatile performance style, ranging from purely classical khayal renditions to a classically oriented presentation of the poetry of great Persian masters, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and Hafiz.
With his unique style and mastery of qawwali music, Humayn has graced the stages of the Asilah International Festival in Morocco, the Library of Congress in the Neptune Plaza Series and the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institute with PROBE as well as the Rumi Festival in Chapel Hill, NC, to mention a few. No stranger to the Kennedy Center, where he has performed numerous times, he is perhaps, most well reputed for his series of Concerts for Peace following the horrors of September 11th. He has provided instrumental accompaniment for live performances in Eastern Europe with both Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ustad Zakir Husain, and CD recordings by Mashkoor Ali Khan and Ustad Rashid Khan on the AIM Record label. He performed the instrumental music for the soundtrack of the Mira Nair feature film, Kama Sutra, and sang for the award-winning BBC radio feature, Monsoon, subsequently broadcast throughout the US in abridged form by NPR in 1999. He was proclaimed, Best Rising Star of Afghan music by Taranasaz, the renowned singer-songwriter of Afghanistan.