In an era dominated by digital music streaming, where one can access any song with a mere tap on various music apps, the traditional practice of enjoying live band performances remains unchanged. Amidst this digital age, one band in Udaipur has its own charm of live music – the "Shahi Darbar Band", which has been giving its services since the year 1930. Established during the time of the Maharajas, this band has a rich history, which is being carried forward across 4 generations.
In an exclusive conversation with Mohsin Khan, one of the owners of Shahi Darbar Band, UdaipurTimes got insights into the band's legacy. Mohsin proudly said that the Band is currently in its fourth generation. The band's name echoes through time, symbolizing a commitment to musical excellence that has transcended generations. In a world characterized by rapid digitalization, the enduring presence of Shahi Darbar Band serves as a living connection to a bygone era. It stands as a reminder that, despite the convenience of modern technology, the magic of a live band performance exists, offering a unique and irreplaceable musical experience.
Kasam Kha Sahab (1930-1971)
Kasam Kha Sahab
The inception of the band can be attributed to the visionary Kasam Kha Sahab, the great-grandfather of Mohsin Khan and his brothers, Javed and Waseem. Maharana Bhupal Singh bestowed upon Kasam Kha Sahab's musical band the name "The Kadmi Darbar Bhupal Music Band." Kasam Kha Sahab, a maestro in the art of musical expression, exhibited remarkable proficiency in playing the flute, harmonium, and Cornett. His multifaceted expertise laid the foundation for the band's musical journey, setting the stage for a legacy that has transcended generations.
The "Kadmi Darbar Bhupal Music Band," beyond being a musical entity, became a symbol of cultural richness and regal heritage. Under Kasam Kha Sahab's guidance, the band not only mastered the intricacies of various instruments, but also established a musical tradition that would endure the test of time.
Story Behind the First Name of this Band
In 1915, Kasam Kha Sahab arrived in Udaipur from Bhilwara to perform at the City Palace during Maharana Bhupal Singh's family marriage function, spanning seven days. Impressed by both his instrumental skills and singing, Maharana appointed him as his personal performer in the 'Darbar of Mewar' Kasam Kha Sahab continued to sing and play instruments for Maharana Bhupal Singh, securing a permanent position at the City Palace.
After performing for several years in Maharana's Darbar, Kasam Kha Sahab was asked by the Maharana to choose a gift. In response, Kasam Kha Sahab proposed that Maharana gift him a band shop in Udaipur under his patronage. Maharana Bhupal Singh, in turn, handed over an official letter to Kasam Kha Sahab, authorizing the establishment of his band shop in the city. In 1930, the first band shop was inaugurated in Udaipur. Additionally, as part of the gift, Maharana presented Dhol, Dholki and Flute to enhance Kasam Kha Sahab's musical ensemble.
Amir Kha Sahab (d-1989)
Amir Kha Sahab
Amir Kha Sahab, the grandfather of Mohsin Khan, played a pivotal role in the Kadmi Darbar Band. In 1989 he even renamed the band to 'Darbar Music Band'. His band, consisting of five members at that time, operated from a shop established in Mochi Bazaar, near the Jain Temple in Udaipur. Renowned for his magical performances on instruments such as Jaltarang, Harmonium, Flute, and Cornett, Amir Kha Sahab was also known for his expertise in Puppet Shows.
Amir Kha Sahab with Former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri
His global influence extended as he performed in nearly 52 countries worldwide, facilitated through his engagement with Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, a folk performing theatre in the town, where he dedicated 30 years of his career as a senior artist.
Amir Kha Sahab's Trip to Sikkim from Lok Kala Mandal
In 1971, Amir Kha Sahab received recognition for his musical excellence when he was honored by the Shah of Iran. Subsequently, in 1985, he was bestowed with awards by the Former Hon'ble President of India, Giani Zail Singh, and the former Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Salim Kha Sahab (1990)
During his era, the band underwent a name change to "Shahi Darbar Band," a name that continues till now. One intriguing detail shared by Mohsin Khan is that during Salim Kha Sahab's time, the band would perform live from a cart. Salim Kha Sahab, accompanied by his band members, would travel on the cart, playing musical instruments and singing. Upon entering a locality, they would serenade individuals they knew in that area.
Band Live On Cart
Master Salim Kha Sahab at the Age of 14
Salim Kha Sahab also worked at Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal for a period of six years after his father Amir Kha. In 1999, the band performed with a group of 51 people at the first Regal Wedding of Udaipur held at the City Palace Complex. Salim Khan Sahab and his band members showcased their talents at the renowned actress Raveena Tandon's wedding in 2003, hosted at Jagmandir Palace. Additionally, they graced the celebration of Praful Patel's daughter Niyati's wedding to Samarth Parekh at Jagmandir Palace, Udaipur.
Master Salim Kha Sahab at Actress Raveena Tandon's Wedding
He and his band were featured performers at the inauguration ceremony of Galiyakot Masjid. During this event, Former Vice-President of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and Syedna Burhannudin Maula were honored as special guests.
Salim Kha Sahab at Galiyakot Masjid's Inauguration Ceremony
Presently, the band is managed by three brothers, namely Mohsin Khan, Javed Khan and Wasim Khan. Continuing the legacy established by their forefathers, the band continues to provide top-notch services to its clients. Currently, the band offers a range of services including Brass band, Trolley band, Welcome band, Bagpiper band, Lawazma, Langa group, Kalbelia group, Doli and Palki, Rajasthani Folk dance, Godi, Baggi, Camel and Elephant.
Three Brothers Presently Running This Band
The band has consistently provided exceptional services, earning the honor of performing at nearly every prestigious royal hotel in Udaipur.
From its royal origins under Maharana Bhupal Singh to adapting to modern trends, the band has consistently delivered excellent live performances, evolving with the times while preserving its real art. Managed by Mohsin Khan and his brothers, the band continues to enchant audiences with a diverse range of services, embracing both traditional and contemporary musical elements.