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Biography 2017-05-01T03:22:29+00:00

Canada’s most recognizable Indian Classical musician, the globally renowned Cassius Khan is a performer of combining the Classical styles of Ghazal/Thumri singing and the Tabla, the North Indian pair of drums and presents both, simultaneously. He is the senior disciples of the late Malika e Tarannum Mushtari Begum (Dec 25th 1934-March 14th 2004) and Tabla maestro Ustad Rukhsar Ali, who belongs to the Delhi Gharana of Tabla playing. 

Combining Indian Classical singing with Tabla, for a single artist, is a first in Indian classical music. Many noted Indian Classical Music gurus have proclaimed that singing and playing Tabla in unison is a difficult feat to master as Tabla playing requires skill and strength, as well as an absolute concentration on the kaleidoscopic rhythm patterns of the repertoire, and singing requires absolute skill in the execution of notes and vibrations of the voice and excellent breathing control. Khan’s trademark is performing the extremely rare and difficult “Tarannum Ang Gayaki style” in which the lyrics share a different metre from the rhythm but they join at the Sum point in a certain phrase.


Outside of Indian Classical Music Khan has also lent his hands and voice to literally every genre of music spanning from Pop, Rock & Roll, Heavy Metal, Electronica and Rap to Asian, African, Aboriginal and South American Contemporary and Classical music genres, to Roots and Blues, Country and Jazz, to Indian Classical, Ballet, Flamenco and Tap Dance. This has resulted in him being hailed as “Canada’s Multifaceted Musician” by the Edmonton Journal.

MAESTRO CASSIUS KHAN

Artistic Visionary of the Year
Darpan Magazine
“Salute for Excellence Award”
City of Edmonton. 2015
“Artistic Excellence Award”
Times of Canada Award. 2013
“Cassius Khan is the shining star of our time in Canadian World Music.”
“Cassius Khan’s technique runs rings around Ringo.”
Eye Weekly Magazine

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Nominated for the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards for his album, “Mushtari – a live concert” for World Album of the Year
  • Recipient of the 2015 Artistic Visionary Award by Darpan Magazine
  • Awarded the “Salute for Excellence” Award from the City of Edmonton in 2005
  • Conferred the “Artistic Excellence Award” from the Times of Canada Group in 2013
  • One of the very few non Indian residents who has performed in the 2013 SPICMACAY circuit in India
  • The first Canadian to perform at the prestigious Sa Ma Pa Festival in New Delhi (2013) and the the Shri Festival in Jaipur (2012).
  • The very first Indian Ghazal/Tabla maestro to be invited to perform at the 2008 SXSW, the 2009 Canadian Music Week and the National Folk Alliance festivals.
  • Co-composed the “Asia Music” segment in the 2001 World Track & Field Championships in Edmonton, AB

Mushtari Begum Festival

To ensure the survival and patronage of the Indian Classical Arts in Canada, Cassius Khan founded the Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance, which aims to showcase Classical musicians and dancers to audiences. The festival debuted on August 25, 2015 and takes place every year in New Westminster, BC Canada. It is the dominant Indian Classical Music festival in Western Canada and was Voted the Best Arts Festival in New Westminster in 2014!
We are now gearing up for the 4th Annual 2016 Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster on September 24th 2016. Please visit www.mbfestival.ca.

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ARTISTIC COLLABORATION

Khan has performed extensively internationally in over 20 countries, and has collaborated with some of the world’s most critically acclaimed musicians such as Grammy Award winning Mohan Veena legend Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Satvik Veena player Pt Salil Bhatt,Slide guitar Legend Ellen McIlwaine, and Jazz Pianist Stu Goldberg Khan’s first solo album, “Cassius Khan, Young Tabla Wizard” was released by KM Prom/HMV India in 1990. Khan also collaborated with Ellen McIlwaine on their release “Mystic Bridge” (2006), with Stu Goldberg on “Dark Clouds” (2006), Dave Martone’s “A Demon’s Dream” (2004) and “The Alchemists” (2004), Pavlo’s “I Feel Love Again” (2002), D’Arcy Greaves’ “Angel of Sevilla (1989), Dan Mani’s “Mani Licks” (1990), ROAM’s, “Baby Steps” (2008) and 20,000 Miles with Slide to Freedom (2011).

“Cassius Khan is the shining star of our time in Canadian World Music.”
“Many of today’s young artists have Khan to thank for opening such doors for them in the field of fusion…”
EDMONTON JOURNAL
Cassius Khan’s technique runs rings around Ringo.”
EYE WEEKLY MAAZINE