Tabala Player Alla Rakha Rare Photos. Popularly known Alla Rakha’s original name was Qureshi Alla Rakha Khan. He was boarn on 29 April 1919, Paghwal, Jammu and Kashmir, British India. His origin was Dogra Indian. After partition of India, his family migrated to Pakistan (village Rambari, Tehsil Shakargarh, district Sialkot).
Finding little chances for grooming and appreciation, the determined young lad ran away from home, became a disciple of and began studying tabla with Mian Kader Baksh of the Punjab gharana. He was married to Bavi Begum, and had three sons, Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi and Taufiq Qureshi, a daughter Khurshid Aulia née Qureshi, and nine grandchildren.
Alla Rakha had another daughter, Razia, whose death preceded his by less than 24 hours. He also married to a lady belonging to Faisalabad, Pakistan. It was a love marriage. Rohi Bano, a popular TV actress in 1980s, was his daughter from this wedlock. She is still alive. His another brother Sabir practised tabla in Lahore.
For a number of years, as was the custom, Alla Rakha, endured the harshest discipline, but eventually began to get work at the Lahore radio station. Alla Rakha began his career as an accompanist in Lahore and then as an All India Radio staffer in Bombay in 1940, playing the station’s first ever tabla solo and elevating the instrument’s position in the process. He composed music for a couple of Hindi films from 1943-48. His apprenticeship was over. Ustad Kadir Baksh, who had no son, formally adopted Alla Rakha and designated him as the next head of the Punjab gharana . Later, he moved to All-India Radio in Delhi, and then to Bombay.
His partnership with Ravi Shankar began in the early 1950s. They officially represented India at many international music festivals and conferences, and, in the era of flower-power and the Beatles, their names became synonymous with Indian music. Although Alla Rakha remained within the Indian classical tradition, his influence made the tabla the percussion instrument of choice to express mood and atmosphere in film soundtracks, commercials and western popular music. He became a Guru (teacher) to Sankha Chatterjee (in 1962), Yogesh Samsi, Prafulla Athalye, Aditya Kalyanpur, Anuradha Pal, Nishikant Barodekar, Uday Ramdas, Shyam Kane, and his sons Taufiq Qureshi and Fazal Qureshi. His eldest son, Zakir Hussain is also an accomplished tabla virtuoso. Ustad Alla Rakha Khan popularized the art of tabla, playing across the globe, elevating the status and respect of his instrument. Abbaji (as he was affectionately known by his disciples) also bridged the gap between Carnatic music and Hindustani music by playing with both renowned Carnatic musicians and other Hindustani stalwarts.
Leading American percussionists in Rock n’ Roll, such as the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, admired him and studied his technique, benefiting greatly even from single meetings. Hart, a published authority on percussion in world music, said “Alla Rakha is the Einstein, the Picasso; he is the highest form of rhythmic development on this planet.” Alla Rakha also collaborated with jazz drummer Buddy Rich, on their 1968 album Rich à la Rakha.
Ustad Alla Rakha Khan was awarded the Padma Shri in 1977 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1982. Alla Rakha was died on 3 February 2000 at his Simla House residence on Nepean Sea Road following a heart attack, which he suffered on learning of the death of his daughter, Razia, the previous evening.
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