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"The shy and reclusive Rahman is one of my favourite musicians," Khan said. "His fans say he gets better and better with every new song. His critics? Well, I've yet to find any serious critics."






Raving about Rahman
CNN launches what it calls "the world's first international music news programme" with a South Asia special. Riz Khan is awed at meeting the superstars of India's popular-music industry

World Beat
0730 or 1930 BST
Saturday May 5.

Rahman: Riz Khan's a fan too Riz Khan has quit the CNN. On pleasant terms, going by a short interview in an Indian newsmagazine. Looks like the popular presenter will continue to remain on the tube for some more time, what with a star-studded South Asian music special scheduled for May 5.

Sukhbir, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, A R Rahman and Asha Bhosle are among the musicians CNN will present to its worldwide viewers in a programme called World Beat South Asian Music Special.

CNN plans to highlight "the music and the performers of the region, introducing the novice viewer whilst entertaining and challenging the expert". The channel says World Beat is the world's first international music news programme.

"When I was first approached to host the World Beat South Asian Music Special, I was excited. When I realised exactly what it would entail, I was thrilled," recalls Khan, who travelled to India and Pakistan to interview the top talents of the South Asian music world. From Mumbai to New Delhi, Chennai to Faisalabad, he explored the range of the music around him.

World Beat, according to a CNN note, begins with Riz Khan at a recording session with bhangra pop star Sukhbir as he prepares to perform at a Miss India contest. The presenter then sees Ustad Amjad Ali Khan who performs with sons Amaan and Ayaan. The boys, incidentally, host the popular TV music show Saregama. The three musicians strum a raga for the benefit of Riz's camera team.

In another part of the programme, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan performs qawwali music in a small shrine a few miles from his family home in Pakistan. He is the nephew and successor of the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, known to Western audiences for his voice tracks in films like Dead Man Walking and Natural Born Killers . Riz Khan also speaks with Rizwan and Muazzam Qawwal, part of the the late Ustad's family, about their efforts to introduce the music to Europe.

Riz Khan then boards a plane to come face to face with A R Rahman, the biggest success story in Indian commercial music. "The shy and reclusive Rahman is one of my favourite musicians," Khan said. "His fans say he gets better and better with every new song. His critics? Well, I've yet to find any serious critics."

Riz Khan raves about his Chennai shoot. "Filming such an incredible musical figure in the intimacy of his own home was something I had not imagined he would ever allow," Khan said. "When I first met Rahman more than two years ago he was shy and reclusive. Fortunately, having bumped into him a number of times now, in London, Munich and India, we had a comfort level that allowed a remarkably candid interview."

After speaking to such a wealth of Asian musical stars, Khan reflected on the experience, "It seems somewhat surreal. We interviewed a wide range of musicians, including bhangra king Daler Mehndi, pop heartthrob Shaan and legendary diva Asha Bhosle, a woman whose voice still sounds as pure and powerful as a teenager's, though she's well into her sixth decade."

World Beat is CNN International's weekly music news show, covering musical talent from all over the world. The programme includes the latest news from the music industry, a weekly Global Album Chart, listing the most-bought albums worldwide from the previous week, in-depth artist profiles and interviews and a 'global gig guide'.

'World Beat South Asian Music Special' airs Saturday May 5 at 0730 BST and 1930 BST.

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