Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009)

We have lost Ali-Ji. He was the great modern virtuoso stylist of the sarod, the short-necked, wire-strung lute that came into North India from the Muslim world (Arabic: sir-ud: "the great oud")

If you practice for ten years, you may begin to please yourself, after 20 years you may become a performer and please the audience, after 30 years you may please even your guru, but you must practice for many more years before you finally become a true artist—then you may please even God.
I only visited his school in Berkeley once, but the aura of clarity, devotion, and positivity was palpable.

His was a life well-lived. The disciples of his garana populate the world and continue to make music according to his highest principles.

We were immensely blessed by his presence and we are bereft at his departure.

And can I just say, I hope and pray for a death with one iota this much dignity and beauty?
Alam Khan (son of Ali Akbar Khan)

"I will leave you with this:

"Last evening 6/17/09 while surrounded by his students and family here at our home, Baba said to us, "bring the harmonium."

"We all were surprised, to say the least, and concerned that he should rest. He kept requesting us so I went into the next room to bring the harmonium. One of his youngest disciples whom he has been teaching since childhood began to play Sa upon his request. Soon after, Baba began to sing to us all in Rag Durga. He proceeded to teach us for the next 30 minutes and all in the room were singing and weeping. It was truly a moment in my life I will never forget and was so moving I felt as though I was living in a story one might hear of the great legends of olden times. Even while "on his deathbed" (or chair, in his case) and not being able to lift his head, our father and guru wanted to still teach us and share with us this beautiful music. God bless him... God bless him."
I am very, very sorry he is gone.

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