The art of Indian classical music has been passed down from father to son, generation to generation as naturally as time goes by. This particular school of music, the Baba Allauddin Senya Binkar Gharana, dates back to the 16th century and the courts of Emperor Akbar. Ali Akbar Khan was taught by his father, Baba Allauddin Khan, who told him to spread the music as far as the sun and the moon.
Joining Khansahib on this recording is longterm rhythmic companion Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, the brilliant master of tabla, who credits his family for the encouragement and early training that have earned him a place among the greatest classical musicians of India. His style is based on the long training he received from his Guru, Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta—the eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana.
Khansahib's son, nineteen-year-old Alam Khan follows in the footsteps of his eldest brothers Aashish Khan and the late Dhyanesh Khan, both of whom studied sarode with their father and grandfather. Alam has studied with his father since he was seven years old.
Indian classical music's place in the history of music is unique: most of what is performed on stage is composed on the spot according to the rules of the tradition. For a student, this is the most challenging time of one's life—listening and responding at the feet of one's guru with an intensity felt every moment. The traditional raga performed here, "Ragini Puriya Dhanasri" is an evening raga with a mood of peace, pathos, joy and power. Its magic will pull you in and keep you involved until the last note of the performance.
Since 1967, the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California, is where Khansahib can be found, nine months of the year, teaching all levels of students; Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri has been the Director of Percussion here for 20 years as well. As Khansahib begins his 80th year, one of his goals is to open a public library and archive as part of the AACM facilities in San Rafael, consisting of his personal collection of concerts, recordings, photos, and articles; his father's handwritten composition books translated into English; and Khansahib's ongoing and past 34 years of classes in both audio and notated form, along with videos.
* India's officially anointed "living treasure" introduced Indian classical music to Western ears in the late '50s (Ravi Shankar soon followed)
* Considered one of the greatest musicians of the 20th Century, period.
* Master of Indian classical music's first new release since the 1998 Grammy-nominated Passing on the Tradition CD (Legacy and Then and Now were also nominated in 1997 and 1996, respectively)
* The first published recording of "Ragini Puriya Dhanasri" released by Ali Akbar Khan