Google today commemorates the 95th birth anniversary of legendary Indian tabla maestro Alla Rakha. The Doodle shows Alla Rakha, clad in a white kurta, playing the tabla with his trademark smile.
Fondly known as ‘Abbaji’, Ustad Alla Rakha was born on April 29, 1919 in Phagwal, Jammu. At an impressionable age of 12, Ustad fled home to follow his passion and learn tabla under the tutelage of Mian Kader Baksh of the Punjab gharana. He would later learn voice and Raag Vidya under Ashiq Ali Khan of the Patiala gharana. His devotion and ceaseless dedication to music would consume most of his time, which would later pay off.
After his marriage to Bavi Begum, he gave birth to three sons, Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi and Taufiq Qureshi, and a daughter Khurshid Aulia née Qureshi. He is widely credited for bridging the gap between Carnatic music and Hindustani music. But his musical influence was not limited to India. Even westerners admired his technique. Legendary Rock n Roll American band The Grateful Dead said, “Alla Rakha is the highest form of rythmic development on this planet.”
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In 1977, Alla Rakha was awarded the Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1982. Ustad Alla Rakha passed away on February 3, 2000 at his residence in Shimla.