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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Last of the Titans: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s (1922-2009)

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who passed away on June 18, was perhaps the most gifted of all the instrumentalists to have graced the Hindustani music scene in the past hundred years, that is, in the era of recorded music and the public concert stage. Those who have had the privilege of having heard sarod players of generations earlier than Ali Akbar’s have, almost to the man, put their prejudices aside, to acknowledge him as the most complete of all the instrumentalists. His knowledge of the grammar of ragas was formidable. In this respect, he was equal to his sister, the unsung genius Annapoorna Debi, and his former brother-in-law Pandit Ravi Shankar. His interpretation of the roop and aakaar, inner and outer raiments of many ragas, left both the connoisseur and the layman utterly astonished.


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