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'Ustad saheb became one with the shehnai'
August 21, 2006 10:58 IST
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan pays tribute to the late Ustad Bismillah Khan, who passed away early Monday morning
The death of Ustad Bismillah Khan is a personal loss to me as our families have had a long association. He used to refer to my father Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan Saheb as uncle and had great regard for him.
It was a pleasure and unique honour to play duets with Khan saheb whenever I got an opportunity to. Last year, I played along with him in Delhi and Kolkata.
Ustadji had played duets with many other maestros but when it came to the sarod, the honour always came my way.
As soon as the Ustad began to play, he became one with the shehnai. It was because of him that the shehnai was heard at concerts, both in India and internationally.
His unique contribution caused the Indian government to honour him with a Bharat Ratna.
The Ustad played the shehnai, not in keeping with the grammar of music, but with its poetry. His concept of music was very beautiful and his vision, superb. What is remarkable is that he kept performing, until the very end.
I am glad to learn that the Uttar Pradesh government and the central government have declared a day of mourning for this great musician.
May his soul rest in peace. I sincerely hope that someone from his family comes forward to carry on the good work done by him.
As told to Onkar Singh in New Delhi