Al Gromer Khan

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Al Gromer Khan is a German-born sitar player and composer whose music spans the multiple genres of ambient, new age, world and electronica.

Early influences[edit]

Né Alois Gromer, Al Gromer Khan was born on April 8, 1946 at Frauenzell (municipality Altusried/Allgäu) in alpine foothills of Bavaria between Lake Constance and Munich. He spent his early years in Frauenzell and deserted from German Military Service to England, Morocco and India. His father worked in Frauenzell as Bus Motor Carrier. Gromer Khan claims that he was drawn to the "mysteries of sound" from the first, be it the sound of the bells worn by the Bavarian cows grazing in the alpine meadows near his birthplace, Indian stringed instruments, the drums of North Africa or the "singing" telephone wires on the wind in the freezing Bavarian winters. Gromer Khan claims to have rejected the academic or diplomatic careers his parents expected him to take up.

The 1960s found a twenty-something Al Gromer in London where he took part in a number of creative experiments which were to have a lasting influence on him. According to Gromer Khan, the Prince Tiane na Champassak of Laos introduced him to tantric art and pop star Marc Bolan invited him to join in the all-night jam sessions he hosted. He explored psycho-acoustic phenomena with film director Mike Figgis, and saxophonist Ronnie Scott of Ronnie Scott's Jazzclub, who introduced Al to Ben Webster, Max Roach and Miles Davis, while Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam), gave him a taste for English poetry.

Development as a sitarist[edit]

There is no doubt that Gromer Khan's creative encounters during the 1960s deeply informed his musical taste and style; however, Gromer’s ultimate musical awakening came during a trip to India in 1968, at a recital by sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan. Gromer Khan professes to have been so moved by the performance that he instantly decided to devote his life to the study of the sitar. He remained in India, where he was to find a powerful teacher in Vilayat Khan's brother, Ustad Imrat Khan. Gromer Khan remained in India for the next three years, speed-learning his instrument at the feet of his guru. He returned to Bavaria in 1971, already an accomplished sitarist.

Gromer Khan spent the next 10 years studying with Imrat Khan in Europe and India. In 1975, his teacher performed the Ghanda Ceremony, thus initiating Al Gromer into the Khan-I-Gharana lineage of sitarists. He was the first outsider to be accepted into this particular Gharana, which like most Hindustani musical traditions, passes knowledge down the generations from father to son. After his initiation, Al Gromer added "Khan" to his name.

Creative works[edit]

Concurrently, Khan engaged in a number of experimental projects, pioneering the proto-electronic music genre called Space music, together with Popol Vuh, Deuter and Amon Düül.

Since 1974, Khan has released nearly 40 albums. He currently resides in Munich, Germany. In 2009 the novel Jimi of Silence was released.

Discography[edit]

  • KULA JAZZ ‘Tantric Miniatures’, 2012 Zustand
  • Foret Diplomatique, 2011 Zustand
  • Future Song, 2010 Zustand, Aquamarin 2011 AGK with Thomas Kagermann
  • Sitar Secrets 2009 New Earth Records
  • Lanoiah, 2008 Zustand
  • Negus, 2008 RASA Music
  • Indian Music II, 2008 RASA Music, NER 2009
  • Another Kind Of Silence, 2007 RASA Music
  • Radio Yoga 2007 RASA Music
  • Turya 2006 RASA Music
  • The Alchemy of Happiness 2005 RASA Music AGK with Klaus Wiese
  • Chai & Roses 2004 RASA Music Al Gromer Khan
  • Savoy Tea Time 2004 RASA Music with Sébastien Illiano, Raed Khoshaba, Kai Taschner
  • Tantra Electronica 2004 New Earth Records with Emin Corrado
  • Indian Music 2002 RASA Music
  • Future Lounge 2002 New Earth Records
  • Lexus 2001 Intuition Wergo
  • Sufi 2000 New Earth Records
  • Almond Blossom Day 1999 Aquamarin
  • Kamasutra Experience 1999 New Earth Records
  • Tantra Drums 1998 New Earth Records
  • Marco Polo/ Tan Dun 1997 SONY/ Opera Al Gromer Khan/Soloist
  • Space Hotel 1997 New Earth Records
  • Black Marble and Sweet Fire 1996 Hearts of Space Records with Kai Taschner
  • Monsoon Point 1995 New Earth Records with Amelia Cuni
  • Konya 1994 Bluestar Music
  • Attar - Musik als Parfüm 1994 Wergo
  • Beautiful Marva 1993 Aquarius
  • Utopia 1992 Aquamarin
  • The God Perfume II 1992 Aquamarin
  • Tabris 1991 Musicolor/ Araba
  • Mahogany Nights 1990 Hearts of Space Records
  • Kama Sutra II 1989 Musicolor/ Araba
  • Music from an Eastern Rosegarden 1989 Aquamarin
  • The God Perfume 1987 Aquamarin
  • Chai and Roses 1987 Aquamarin
  • Kama Sutra 1986 Eversongs with Jörg Evers
  • The Neuschwanstein Tapes 1986 Aquamarin with Kai Taschner
  • In High Places 1985 Aquamarin with Klaus Wiese
  • Hymns of Secret Glory 1984 Aquamarin with Klaus Wiese
  • Divan I Khas 1984 Isis with Mario Strack
  • Zuban 1981 Major Music/Isis with Mario Strack
  • Uranus Venus 1980 Warner Bros. with Mario Strack, Ute Lenz, Jörg Evers
  • Yoga Popol Vuh 1976 High Tide 1993 with Florian Fricke
  • Hesse Between Music 1974 Wergo CD with P.M. Hamel, J.E. Berendt

Audio books[edit]

  • Jazzweihnacht Rasa Music 2007
  • Der Lehrer, sein Schüler und der weiße Mogul, Rasa Music 2006
  • Der Tigerbericht 1990 Sheema Medien Dietrich Wild/Al Gromer Khan Neuauflage 2004

Books[edit]

  • Jimi of Silence, Zustand Verlag 2009
  • Der weiße Mogul, Zustand Verlag 2009
  • „Jazz Christmas“, Zustand Verlag, 2011 e-book

Soundtracks on[edit]

  • Coer de Vere Herz aus Glas 1977 Werner Herzog Popol Vuh/Al Gromer Khan
  • Nosferatu 1979 Werner Herzog Popol Vuh/Al Gromer Khan
  • Un Divan A New York 1996 Chantal Akerman
  • Sublime 2006 Tony Krantz
  • Highway World 2008 Martin Hans Schmitt (Al Gromer Khan Soundtrack zum Film)

Collaboration with Popol Vuh[edit]

  • Das Hohelied Salomos 1975
  • Letzte Tage, letzte Nächte 1976
  • Brüder des Schattens, Söhne des Lichts 1978
  • Die Nacht der Seele 1979

Exhibitions[edit]

  • Kunstpavillon München ‚The Malakosha Ambience’ 1991
  • Gasteig München ‚Friedensprozess’ 2001
  • khan art Galerie ‚Tantric Miniatures’ 2011 München
  • khan art ambient ‚Tantric Miniatures’ 2012 Berlin

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Artist's website: Includes music, paintings and essays by Al Gromer Khan [1]
  • Current Record Label: With audio samples of his new CDs like Radio Yoga, Another Kind of Silence and Indian Music II [2]
  • Record Label: Audio Links to Space Hotel, Monsoon Point, Kamasutra Experience, Tantra Drums [3]
  • Nonverbal documentary film: "Highway World - living, changing, growing" [4]