• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan Passes Away

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

Kamal

Active Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Messages
721
Points
43
Location
New Delhi
The legendary Sarod Maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan is no more.
Another giant of the Hindustani Classical Music has gone, after Ustad Vilayat Khans' death in 2004.
We of the prev generation were so fortunate to enjoy the performances of Masters such as these.
Will future generations ever be so lucky?
Please do read a short feature on the Ustad in the link given below:-
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan passes away
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,316
Points
113
Location
Chennai
This is really sad. I have been listening to his Sarod every night before going to sleep for the last few weeks and the music is simply magical. May his soul rest in peace.
 

Asit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Messages
1,488
Points
113
Location
Kolkata
Yes, Kamal, this is one of the saddest days of my life. I actually did not know about it until in the evening. I went to a private vocal concert by Pandit Jagdish Prasad and there it was announced. It is very hard to express my feelings.

His family comes from a little town in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) called Brahmanbaria in the district of Comilla bordering on Tripura. My late mother also comes from the same town.

Although I have never interacted with him personally (some of my family members have), but I have seen him from close quarters many many times, and of course I have heard him live many many times, from house concerts to big programmes, in India and abroad.

He is one of those rare musicians with whose demise some things are lost for ever. Although he was not really performing for the last few years, just the knowledge that he is alive somewhere in the same world seemed to give a sense of comfort that all is not lost.

I hope somebody somewhere has recorded all the music treasures he possessed and would make all this available someday. Pandit Ravishankar is also quite old. I wonder all the rare ragas and even proper exposition of even the well-known ragas will be all lost. We Indians have never valued our treasures and never have done any documentation.

For the last few days, for whatever reasons, I was listening to a lot of Ali Akbar Khan's CDs.

BTW, I was present in one of his concerts in Kolkata where in the middle he stopped and apologised in Bengali and uttered "Aaj kichhu hochhe na", that is, "today I am not playing at all well, it's not really cilcking" and then wanted to stop. The audience did not let him.

Because his father Ustad Allauddin Khan was a court musician in Maaihar, nowadays some people try to describe the school of Pandit Ravishankar, Ustad Allauddin Khan and Pandit Nikhil Banerjee as Maaihar gharana. But the truth is that they along with their guru belong to the Beenkar-Senia gharana, because the principal training of Ustad Allauddin Khan was from Ustad Uzir Khan (at Rampur, UP), who was a daughter side descendent of Miyan Tansen. Let me just add very humbly that from a very early childhood till the age of 14, I received "taalim" in vocal classical music in the same school or gharana, from Ustad Muhammed Dabir Khan, the grandson of Ud. Uzir Khan. Our guruji (Dabir Khan) died when I was 14.

Today is indeed a very very sad day.
 

smedhavi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
768
Points
63
Location
Bangalore
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was not just the best Sarod player I knew, he was also a treasure of 'Seni' (Tansen) music. He was thorough in his music, and was not just into marketing himself, which is more important than other things these days. I am glad he recorded some great music, and also ensured audiophile recording quality for most of these albums.

He cannot die. He is the Tansen of our times.

Regards,
Sharad
 

thevortex

New Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,656
Points
0
Location
Chennai
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was not just the best Sarod player I knew, he was also a treasure of 'Seni' (Tansen) music. He was thorough in his music, and was not just into marketing himself, which is more important than other things these days. I am glad he recorded some great music, and also ensured audiophile recording quality for most of these albums.

He cannot die. He is the Tansen of our times.

Regards,
Sharad

Nicely put, Sharad! I agree.

I have recently been listening to the album 'North meets South' - a fusion of Violin and Sarod by Lalgudi Jayaraman and the Ustad himself. I only have two words to describe the experience.

Magical and Uplifting.
 

gobble

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
5,452
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
Nicely put, Sharad! I agree.

I have recently been listening to the album 'North meets South' - a fusion of Violin and Sarod by Lalgudi Jayaraman and the Ustad himself. I only have two words to describe the experience.

Magical and Uplifting.

What label is it? I would love to hear them both play together.

Regards
 

Asit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Messages
1,488
Points
113
Location
Kolkata
Hi,
I did not know there is a recording available of Ali Akbar Khan and Lalgudi Jayaraman playing together. I'd be very interested to know the details of that recording.

I have a CD and also a cassette of Ali Akbar Khan in duet with L. Subramaniam (violin) and Zakir Hussain on tabla and Ramnad Raghavan (younger brother of late vocalist Ramnad Krishnan and uncle of L Subramaniam and L Shankar) on Mrdangam. Raga on the CD is raga Jog (Nattai in Karnatic nomenclature). The cassette has in addition one more raga (Sindhu Bhairavi, also called Sindhi Bharavi).
 

shaklebolt

New Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
36
Points
0
Location
Delhi
An era has ended or rather sadly coming to an end. I feel unfortunate not to have born some 40 years back when I could really enjoy the hindustani talents...

The problem is, nobody aren't enough people to carry the bastion forward.
 

gobble

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
5,452
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
An era has ended or rather sadly coming to an end. I feel unfortunate not to have born some 40 years back when I could really enjoy the hindustani talents...

The problem is, nobody aren't enough people to carry the bastion forward.

History tells us that we've had large gaps in time in between major talent surfacing. The only thing is to keep the tradition alive and preserve the memory for future generations.

Regards
 

Asit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Messages
1,488
Points
113
Location
Kolkata
Bits on Ali Akbar Khan, the man and the musician.

1) He was a simple man, even in his explanations about music (almost like Ramakrishnadev who used to explain a lot of deep spiritual thoughts in layman's terms so that everybody could understand). During his yearly visits of Kolkata, there would be many musicians young and old who would visit him for music tips etc. In one such gathering somebody asked him something like this: 'How do you manage to do so complicated rhythmic patterns while at the same time doing almost impossible combinations of melodic notes?' His answer was incredibly simple, he said, 'It's like dal and bhat (rice), you know how much dal is needed for what amount of bhat, you know it when you mix them' (as told by sarod player Tejendra Narayan Majumdar).

2) A few years ago I was present in a gathering where Ali Akbar Khan came to inaugurate a small room (dedicated for small concerts) to be named "Ali Akbar Sangeet Kaksha". A young sitar player (whom many of you may know the name of) played raga Gaud Sarang in the maestro's presence just before the formal inauguration. Although the young sitarist was very promising, very imaginative and creative, the raga exposition was very flawed, and I was feeling very uneasy about it, especially because the performance was in front of such a great person. After the inauguration, the Ustad was asked to say a few words. He did not make any particular mention of the presentation just preceding the inauguration, but said in no uncertain terms the following: 'Today a lot more young people are taking to music and also classical music compared to the times we were growing up, so naturally there is a much bigger talent pool these days. Many of today's young musicians are very very talented, but unless they learn the intricacies of raga-exposition, they will not be able to maintain the purity of ragas and our music will loose its essence". He was very calm yet very firm.

3) About 10 years ago my eldest sister (now 74) attended a musical gathering at the Ali Akbar Khan music college in Kolkata where the Ustad himself was present. After the musical part, at the end, many people went to touch the feet of the maestro and some wanted to be photographed with him. My sister was near-by watching all this and was shy to approach him. Ali Akbar Khan noticed this, and all of a sudden he asked my sister, "Why do not you come near?" and then he asked one of the people to take a photo of him along with my sister and told the photographer to send the picture to my sister after developing. My sister treasures her photo with Ali Akbar and proudly shows it to everybody, telling also the story, of course.
 

venkatcr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
7,316
Points
113
Location
Chennai
The problem is, nobody aren't enough people to carry the bastion forward.

I am not too sure about this. Agreed it will be a long time before you hear another Ravi Shankar on the Sitar or a Akbar Khan on the Sarod, but there are lots of new artists working hard and playing quite well.

The problem is more in our own perception. We get so pampered with the capabilities of a Latha, a Mohd. Rafi, a Lalgudi Jayaraman or a Ravi Shankar that we start comparing everybody with them. Such people are rare but we cannot rule out our younger players completely. In the 70's and 80's when you heard a song or a recital, you were able to link it to an artist immediately. There were just one reason for this. There were few artists and they overshadowed every one else.

Today, it seems to difficult to do that excepting for a few artists. The number of artists are large and not many of them play enough to leave an impression. Yet, there are some artists whose hand or voice you immediately recognise. And it is these who will become a Ravi Shankar or a Akbar Khan one day.

Completely unrelated to any genre, some of the young artists I can think of are Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani, Ganesh Kumaresh, OS Arun, Bombay Jayshree, Unnikrishnan, TM Krishnan, U Srinivas, Ghulam Niaz Khan, Harshad Dongre, Chirag Katty, Jay Thakker, Basant Kabra, and, of course, Anoushka Shankar.

I have enjoyed the recitals of many of these artists with a open heart and mind and found them to be very very good.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

smedhavi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
768
Points
63
Location
Bangalore
I fully agree with Venkat. We do have a lot of good artists today. In fact more than what I have seen ever before. Some more to add to Venkat's list (irrespective of geners):
  • Ustaad Rashid Khan
  • Zila Khan
  • Sumona Roy Biswas
  • Dr.Shoma Ghosh
  • Rekha Vishal Bharadwaj
  • Sanjeev Abhayankar
  • and a lot more...

Regards,
Sharad
 

deba

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
1,145
Points
63
Location
Kolkata
Nicely put, Sharad! I agree.

I have recently been listening to the album 'North meets South' - a fusion of Violin and Sarod by Lalgudi Jayaraman and the Ustad himself. I only have two words to describe the experience.

Magical and Uplifting.

Dear Sir,

I think you are referring to the EMI CD of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan & Lalgudi Jayaraman, the cover of the CD has a photograph of both the musician sitting face to face. Its an early to mid 80s analog recording.

I have listened to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan from childhood; my Father had the rare opportunity to meet his father Ustad Allaudin Khan in Maihar, because my father used to stay in MP for his education. He was a great and simple man .

I have heard Ali Akbar play numerous times and when ever I listen to his recordings I remain mesmerized. No other Indian Classical Musician has such a deep impact on me then Khan Sahib.

His recordings are available in Alam Madina Music Production (AMMP) in USA (Ali Akbar College of Music) but in India good quality Chanda Dhara Audio CDs can be found and the recording quality is very good, they are mostly Live Recordings.

Its true that the world will hardly be able to get another great musician like him.

One must listen to good quality Indian Classical Music and its guaranteed that you will be lost in the world of tranquility.:)

Thanks.
Deba
 

thevortex

New Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,656
Points
0
Location
Chennai
Asit/Gobble/Deba - South Meets North is a SaReGaMa recording. The photo depicted is of Lalgudi Jayaraman at the top and the Ustad below.

This is a timeless recording! It has given me and my family countless hours of aural pleasure.
 

thevortex

New Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,656
Points
0
Location
Chennai
I agree with Venkat - there are lots of talented youngsters today. However, I still wonder whether somebody with the ability, nous, passion and vision to invent new ragas and styles will come up anytime soon.
 

gobble

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
5,452
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
I agree with Venkat - there are lots of talented youngsters today. However, I still wonder whether somebody with the ability, nous, passion and vision to invent new ragas and styles will come up anytime soon.

As Asitji posted - even if they do not invent new ragas, if they can play "complicated rhythmic patterns while at the same time doing almost impossible combinations of melodic notes" on the instruments of choice, they will still add to the repository of treasured Raaga renditions.

Regards
 

thevortex

New Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,656
Points
0
Location
Chennai
As Asitji posted - even if they do not invent new ragas, if they can play "complicated rhythmic patterns while at the same time doing almost impossible combinations of melodic notes" on the instruments of choice, they will still add to the repository of treasured Raaga renditions.

Regards

Certainly, Gobble. Many of the artists listed by Venkat are very close to my heart and I have immense respect for their outstanding skills in their area of choice!

I just miss the lost generation just like I miss listening to Kishore Kumar or Naushad's compositions or miss watching Richards and Greenidge and Gavaskar bat:)
 

Asit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Messages
1,488
Points
113
Location
Kolkata
Thanks Vortex, for the information on the CD.

On the point of inventing ragas, I am convinced that ragas are more discovered than invented. You could almost say that just like the fundamental physical laws of nature, the basically pleasing combinations of notes are a property of mother nature. One just discovers it when one digs deep. Would you say somebody one fine morning invented a folk tune? No, they are products of nature. Our ragas are more sophisticated, cultured and refined versions of them, in a way, and conveys more than one emotions ('Rasa') and that's how usually richer than folk music.

When one masters many many of these ragas (a couple of hundred, perhaps), only then one can dig deeper to the level that one discovers new structures that have been hitherto unknown to one. Even Miyan Tansen has discovered perhaps not more than a handful of ragas only: Shudh Todi (also known as Miyan Ki Todi), Miyan Ki Malhar and Darbari Kanhra come immediately to mind; Baba Allauddin Khan discovered the evening raga Hem-Bihag and a few others, Pandit Ravishankar discovered his Eshwaree group (Parameshwari, Jogeshwari, Kameshwari) etc and Ustad Ali Akbar a few like Chndranandan, Medhavi etc., to name a few of their discoveries.

While it shows the urge of a creative mind, the more important thing perhaps is to be able to understand the nature of a raga to the extent that its exposition takes place in a flawless yet completely spontaneous manner. Ragas are like people, one should not have any confusion in recognizing and distingushing one from the other. The listener does not have to ponder over the matter whether it's raga Puriya or the raga Marwa that is being performed on the stage. It's basically like being able to distinguish between two popular film music tunes.

All the greats have that quality. Just day before yesterday I had Ali Akbar playing raga Bageshree Kanhra on the cassette. Within the first few strokes I knew it was not the current form of Bageshree, neither it was Sahana (a close rag, in the Kanhra group), it was undoubtedly Bageshree Kanhra. However, the music was flowing naturally, without any apparent structure, but deep inside there is a structure, we know. It's just like the Sun rising in the East and finally setting in the West. Do we think of a law of Physics, giving the planetary positions precisely? No, we call it a natural phenomenon.

This (raga exposition) is really what distinguishes ordinary and good artistes from greats. Just a personal opinion. Just that I have spent a lifetime learning and worrying about these things, it gives me some satisfaction to share my thoughts with you, if anybody cares at all.

Ali Akbar was truely great, easily recognizable even among the greats.
 
Top