Ustad RAFIQUE KHAN was born in Dharwad into an illustrious family of accomplished musicians belonging to the Dharwad Gharana. His father, the late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, was a distinguished sitarist of his time; while his grandfather, the late “Sitar Ratna” Ustad Rahimat Khan was accredited for adding the base octave in the sitar.
With such a lineage, spanning seven generations of his family, it is no surprise that the young Rafique Khan took to the sitar at the tender age of nine. He blossomed under the skilful and caring tutelage of his father and also, his elder brother Ustad Bale Khan too tutored him. He received special lessons in “Gayaki Ang” from his uncle Ustad Dastagir Khan. He passed his music exams from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai and graduated in Philosophy from the University of Goa.
Rafique Khan has performed at different centres all over India and abroad. His performances have been acclaimed at prestigious music concerts. Apart from his solo recitals, he also performs with his twin brother Shafique Khan and the Khan duo has received much praise for their “Jugalbandis”.
It is to the credit of Rafique Khan that he has won the prestigious “Sur Mani Award” from Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai, at the young age of 23 years; a feat not accomplished by many, All India Radio has rated him as a Top Ranking artiste and has broadcast four of his recitals on their National Programmes. He is the first Sitarist to be awarded Top grade from South India. To music lovers Rafique’s face is a familiar sight on the television too. He is also an empanelled artiste of ICCR. He is a recipient of the Surerguru Pt. Jasraj Award – 2019 awarded by the Pt. Motiram Narayan Gurukul, the Sandesha Award for Music and the title “Sangeet Saurabha” from Kalaangan Konkani Academy.
He has served as a member of the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy, Government of Karnataka. Currently he is an academic council member of Dr. Gangubhai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University, Mysore.
One of the unique characteristics of his playing is that he preserves the purity of the raag and maintains the balance of the two mixed styles in “Gayaki Ang” and “Tantakari Ang”. His self-discipline and devotion to music is evident in the fact that he has mastered the “Gamak Taans”, which is considered to be the most difficult technique on the sitar. His command over the finger board is exemplary. The music that he produces is pure melody. Audiences are enthralled by the movements of his nimble fingers on each note he plays.
At present he is on the staff at All India Radio, Mangalore.