by Peter Lavezzoli
Saturday, June 20, 2009
India's Emperor of Melody, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009)
After spending a day in prayer for Khansahib, and listening to his music which has touched me and countless others so deeply, this is my brief statement on the loss of this great man which I have sent to the Indian media:
"Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib is profoundly missed around the world, and it is very difficult for words to convey the depth of the loss. On one level, Khansahib was one of the great maestros who brought Indian music to the West, not only by being the first Indian classical musician to record an LP that would be distributed worldwide, but by performing with Pandit Ravi Shankar at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh on a recording and film that would reach millions. But on a much deeper level, Khansahib was a selfless inspiration, a father figure and guiding light to the many who trained with him in India and California. Many called him Khansahib, but his most devoted disciples called him Baba, and he always sacrificed his time and energy for the benefit of his students, although he very easily could have devoted himself to a more lucrative career of touring and recording. Death came calling on Khansahib more than once. When he was five years old, the young Ali Akbar almost died of cholera, but mysteriously returned to life when he suddenly sat up and began singing a rainy season raga. He very nearly traveled on the same plane that crashed and killed his former patron, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, in 1948. But Khansahib was destined to bring the music of India to the world. In the process, he gained global recognition in the form of many awards, ranging from the Padma Vibhushan in India, to the National Heritage Fellowship in the US (presented to Khansahib at the White House by Mrs. Hillary Clinton in 1997). Still, Khansahib never valued such accolades nearly as much as he cherished his 41 years of working with his students at the Ali Akbar College of Music in California, making a difference in their lives right up to his final days. As with Mahatma Gandhi, this spirit of tireless giving is what will always remain his greatest legacy.
-- Peter Lavezzoli."
lunes, junio 22, 2009
by Peter Lavezzoli