Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, 1922-2009

We lost a genius last week, an unparalleled musician with an extraordinary gift of melody and a passion for teaching. He gave to the world music so devastatingly pure and direct that it could ruin you for anything else, while at the same time opening your ears, allowing you to understand all music, to comprehend that music the world over is ... music. As long as it's in tune and in tal (time/rhythm), that is.

Khansahib to most, Baba to his family and close students, he was a generous teacher, dedicated to sharing his music with the world, with you, with whoever happened to be sitting crossleged in front of him, with eager ears and a receptive mind. He gave all he had and then some; more than this, no one can do. The world is a much better place for him being in it; music the world over is richer.

But, darn it, Baba, we miss you.

Marin IJ
SF Chronicle
Ali Akbar College of Music

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Noise makers!