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Posts Tagged ‘Senia-Maihar’

The Musical Legacy of Brahmanbaria – II

Posted by bangalnama on January 23, 2009


(Continued from Part 1)

Of the musicians that hailed from the illustrious Bajaina Bari (House of Music) of Shibpur, Brahmanbaria, and the Seni-Maihar school, Alauddin Khan was undoubtedly the most influential. He lived for 110 years, played over 30 instruments from the string, wind, bow and percussion groups, was a master vocalist in dhrupad, dhamar and other traditional styles, composed several ragas, invented and modernized musical instruments, trained some of the most revered musicians of our times, and conceived the first ever musical orchestra in the history of Indian classical music. A larger-than-life portrait of Baba Alauddin Khan emerges from interviews and recounts given by the maestro himself and several of his students including Pandits Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee, Ustads Ashish Khan and Mobarak Hossain Khan, and filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak.

alauddin-0081

The early years

Towards the end of the 19th century, a child named Alam was born in the Khan household of Shibpur in rural Chittagong, bordering Tripura. “Ustad Alauddin Khan was my uncle”, writes Mobarak Hossain Khan. “We called him Laal Jetha. His complexion was ruddy, like raw turmeric, and hence the name, meaning ‘red uncle’.” He was an unusual child, a born vagabond, and became a musical prodigy very soon. He was sent to a Maktab to study when he was a child. But school was unattractive to the boy. He bunked classes regularly and instead, spent time in the local Kali temple, or on the ghats of the Titas, where sadhus and bauls would assemble to sing.

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