When Shujaat Khan met Asha Bhonsle

New Delhi: When Grammy nominated sitar player Shujaat Khan met legendary singer Asha Bhonsle in the studio, what followed was in his own words a musical "conversation" which culminated in his latest album `Naina Lagai Ke`.

The album uses the old school style of recording live with musicians and Khan says that Asha was a dream to work with.

"We did not plan anything; we sang whatever we felt like singing. It was more of a conversation. In spite of being such a renowned personality she was very down to earth. She enjoyed work and joked and laughed with us," Khan told PTI.

The musician, one of the most recognised faces of Hindustani classical music, mixes many genres, from Sufi to folk, in the album which has been released by Saregama India.

"It is the song that matters, not the genre. It has to be soothing to the ears. At the end of the day, it has to be a good piece of music," said Khan.

The artiste has done a wide range of concerts with artists as diverse as Karsh Kale to a successful Jugalbandi with Hindustani Vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan and jazz saxophonist Tim Ries.

"In fusion what matters is the musician. If a bad artist makes a fusion piece then it cannot be appreciated. It is not the music but the artist who is to be blamed. A great artist like Zakir Hussain`s fusion would be loved and enjoyed," he said.

Having performed at music festivals across Asia, Africa, North America and Europe, he said that Indian music is respected and enjoyed by the international audience.

"Indian audience are more learned in the field of music, they understand and enjoy it. Whereas international audience, although do not understand they do respect the artist and enjoy the music," he said.

At the age of three Khan began practicing on a specially made small sitar, and by the time he was six, the child prodigy started giving public performances. But he says that the current talent hunt shows for kids often do more harm than good.

"Searching out the talented among the young is good, but it has to be done in moderation. It is not possible to judge a person through SMS votes. You do manage to find some good and talented people through these shows, talent is recognized but excess of anything is not good," he said.