Ustad Allah Rakha
"Alla Rakha is the Einstein, the Picasso; he is the highest form of rhythmic development on this planet."
Once in a great while, there emerges a musician who, through his genius, injects that certain spark necessary to elevate an instrument to another level of expression and appreciation.
For tabla, Ustad Allarakha was such an artist, having brought his instrument a stature and respect never before enjoyed. A disciple of Mian Kader Baksh, the great guru of the Punjab gharana, Ustad Allarakha was, in his lifetime, the most celebrated exponent of this style.
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.
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