An Ancient Observer

When our notion of time and space is turned upside down and we are forced into a new reality, storytelling, our most ancient of rituals, becomes vital. Akram remembers the power of the stories that his mum used to tell him as a child – they spanned over many different cultures and were a universal receptacle of wisdom and endless inspiration to him.

Now as a father himself, Akram narrates stories that are close to his heart to his daughter Sayuri, and shares them with all children as part of an audio series called An Ancient Observer*.

We’re inviting all families to share a moment of stillness with us as we release a new episode every Sunday evening at 7.30pm (UK time) to dream and escape into the worlds of myths, from where we can perhaps learn unity and hope.



For the last episode of this series, Akram tells Sayuri one of his Whispering Secrets. Good secret or bad secret? For sure we should always learn from them.

#4 Whispering Secrets

“Let me start by saying the most obvious difference between the good secrets and the bad ones is that the good ones don’t harm anyone usually, and actually can be useful for the one who is keeping the secret. But the bad one is when it contains something that can harm the one you’re keeping the secret from.

But secrets are more complex than that, they are more complex than good and bad. Let me tell you a story about a journey, when I was just a teenager – and all the while that I’m going to tell you the story, remember, this was always a secret I had kept for a very long time, until… now.” […]

Music track composed by Vincenzo Lamagna for Outwitting the Devil – a huge thank you to Vincenzo for his courtesy and generosity.



The second story entitled Secrets of Ma is the story of Akram’s mother. Akram reveals to Sayuri the secret world of her grandma. Hear about her fascinating life and her secret in the episode below…

#3 Secrets of Ma

Do you know anything about your grandma?… She was born in 1945, in what was at that time part of India. But in 1947, it became Pakistan. And then in 1971, Bangladesh formed. She is Bangladeshi. But when she was born in 1945, she went from being Indian to Pakistani to Bangladeshi. She had a large family. Can you imagine, she had seven brothers, she was the only sister…” […]



Here is the first story: Journey with the Gods by Linda Shanson is told to a music by Tigran Hamasyan. We express our deep gratitude to Linda and Tigran for their courtesy and generosity.

#2 Journey with the Gods – part II

“I once stole the moon,” said the King of the Birds. “Stole the moon!” the children cried in amazement.

“My poor mother was imprisoned by foul serpents of the underworld.” Garud explained. “As ransom they demanded the moon whose light, if drunk, would give everlasting life. I had no choice but to fly to the moon. […]

Story written by Linda Shanson
Music tracks ‘The Poet’ from Tigran Hamasyan’s album Shadow Theater



#1 Journey with the Gods – part I

The next time you gaze into the night sky, take a closer look at the moon. If you are very lucky he may appear round and blue. This blue moon is very precious for on nights when he shines impossible things happen!

One night, not long ago, a beam from this blue moon shone into a room where two children lay sleeping. It settled on the picture of Ganesh, the elephant-headed god. […]

Story written by Linda Shanson
Music tracks ‘Leninagone’ and ‘Fides Tua’ from Tigran Hamasyan’s album An Ancient Observer



Stories told by Akram Khan
with the participation of Sayuri Khan
Sound Design Pete Thomas

*Akram took inspiration from the title of Tigran Hamasyan’s 2017 acclaimed album, An Ancient Observer.

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