Abdul Lateef Khan, the well known Sarangi musician is a member of the fifth consecutive generation of Sarangi players. There are no accurate records of his birthdate; in conversation he puts his year of birth as 1924-25, some records mention his birth in 1930 in Gauhad, Madhya Pradesh
The son of Ustad Chhote Khan, Abdul Lateef Khan and his forefathers come from the illustrious Gwalior gharana with a long line of eminent musicians preceding and continuing to this day. He is part of a musical tradition that depicts music as a way of life sans personal gains and showmanship.
Abdul Lateef Khan also excelled in playing the Santoor, Sitar, Pakhawaj and the Tabla but despite the luminacy of his lineage, the early years saw him undergo rigorous training in difficult circumstances and try to make a living out of his art, by accompanying others on the harmonium and the tabla. The turning point in his life and his journey as a soloist in Sarangi playing materialized out of a burning desire to prove a ‘point to someone who questioned his credentials as a Sarangi player’. The rest, as they say, is history.
In this journey of self-discovery, Abdul Lateef Khan developed a unique fingering technique with his strings, adopting a fixed pitch tuning by adjusting the scale base of notes to achieve acoustic quality of his instrument. His style of playing exemplifies the timbre of his music along with the sanctity and love that he displays for the ragas. His double distinction as a dexterous player of the Sarangi both as soloist and accompanist, bear testimony to his immense talent and dedication.
Abdul Lateef Khan’s long and distinguished association with All India Radio goes back to 1957. A winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, he is also a hugely popular teacher at the Ustad Allaudin Khan Akademi in Bhopal.