Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Amral — man for all seasons
His name is synonymous with travel. In fact, he is considered one of the most travelled men in the world. His travel agency ‘Amral’s’ was revolutionary in the travel business when he opened its doors in 1967. In preparation for this, he and his wife had journeyed for ten years to over 100 countries around the world, covering some quarter of a million miles, studying the various aspects and problems of travel, including hotel accommodation and conducted tours. But more than offering a “travel service with a difference,” Amral Khan led ten steel bands, four of them sponsored by Singapore Airlines, to almost every corner of the world for 11 years, performing to over one billion people. A newspaper report dated September 9, 1975 reads “Amral’s Trinidad Cavaliers steelband has just completed a memorable tour of East Africa and India. So successful was the East African tour that an extended contract for a year was offered to Mr Amral Khan, manager of the band. This had to be turned down because of other commitments for the group in India, Japan and the Far East.” By the end of this tour, the Cavaliers had visited Canada and the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Africa, India, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. In many of these countries, the steelpan was being heard for the first time; it received enthusiastic reaction everywhere. This was a breakthrough for the Cavaliers as they appeared on television many times, and various complimentary performances were done for charitable organistions. Steelpan had found a permanent place in world music! The steelband movement had never, before or since, enjoyed that measure of international exposure.
After revolutionising the world of steelband, Amral left it for “the boys to continue.” His last active steelband involvement was as vice chairman of the World Steelband Festival 2000, which attracted steelbands from England, Sweden, Norway, the United States and the Caribbean. He is no longer involved in the travel or steelband business but has found great fulfillment in another sphere. “God made you unique to do something that nobody else can do” is a passionate belief of his. Following years of mystical, spiritual and psychic research into the mysteries of life by travelling, interviewing and studying with the Sufis, Swamis and Sai Baba in India, Amral realised that this was a journey into knowledge he already possessed. He decided to “drop anchor” and make his own connection to the Divine Universal Flow. He is now actively involved in research of things spiritual and metaphysical; mysteries of Life and Death; the ever expanding universe and delves in the spiritual activities and beliefs of most faiths. He has made pilgrimages to the holy cities of Mecca, Jerusalem, India and Buddhist sacred places and has found the same peace and harmony existing in the belief of the same God.
Routinely by 5.30 am Amral has already tuned into the Universal Flow, thinking positive thoughts while meditating and doing light exercises, breathing in the energy of the universe. He is of the firm belief that Trinidad and Tobago is a very blessed nation. Manzanilla and Caurita in Trinidad and Kelly’s well in Tobago have been identified as special energy areas. He says that years of extensive research by some of the greatest minds in the world, mystically and scientifically, have acclaimed Trinidad as the Spiritual centre of planet Earth. “It is no accident that we have been spared of terrible earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. We are a spiritually and mystically blessed country,” claims Amral. “Every human being is special. You are the sum total of your thoughts — so you think, so you are. Life offers everything, you only have to reach out and take what you want. No obstruction is too great. Always believe in ‘I shall overcome.’”
In 1978 Amral penned a 375 page autobiography and is now in the process of finalising his novel on discoveries and experiences since. He has also completed four books on family linkages, tracing family generations of his own parents and those of his wife, seven generations back to India. At age 73, Amral enjoys great health and a wonderful relationship with his wife of forty-three years. In fact, she has been his companion through most of his travels. Having come from a deeply religious family herself, Zakiya and their two children are also highly spiritually motivated and share Amral’s views on spiritual enlightenment. Within his beautiful 12-acre estate, he has a secluded area neatly kept and shaded with tall pine trees. Small benches offer seating for the selected few that are allowed to enter this area to experience the wonderful and harmonious energies that emanate from the trees and the universe. The air is punctuated only by the cries of copious insects and birds, themselves almost in hushed tones amongst the lush green vegetation. Many a psychic, mystic, healer, scientist, philosopher and spiritual mind have spent hours in this recluse. In his forthcoming book, Amral will document encounters and experiences that are “mind boggling.”
Quiet and unassuming, Amral is confident that “in spite of the negative crime trend, I see better days ahead. We have a most beautiful country, some of the greatest minds, athletes and women in the world. We have achieved so much for such a small country. This has not been by accident but by the will of God. Having travelled so extensively, I can make this statement without a doubt: we live in the greatest country on earth!” In the 1970s, Amral Khan embraced over 100 young unfortunate boys and girls, took them to all corners of the world, exposed them to different cultures and helped them to make a life for themselves. He is proud to report that many of them are still in touch with him, both locally and internationally. The steelband movement owes its early worldwide recognition to his tireless and unprecedented efforts. His last words with his usual warm smile “Thank God for small mercies and to have been born into his blessed land of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Thank you Mr. Amral Khan and family. Travel well to all the multi universes.
Thank you Amral Khan. Thanks
WST for sharing this, because I would not have known of his deeper spiritual side. I look forward to reading his books on his experiences.
I have never heard ANY TRINIDADIAN express such genuine love and hope and patriotism (transcending all barriers to credulity -- in my mind at least) towards TRINIDAD and TOBAGO in my life!!!
It's stunning, actually!!!
I remember Amral Khan, wow! Ten steelbands? But he is............
A great man. Wonderful story.
Thank you, sir.