Prominent members of the Indian music fraternity participated in a day-long musical tribute to the late Ustad Akbar Ali Khan at Shanmukhanand hall in Sion.
The performances featured veterans like violinist L. Subramaniam, flautist Ranendranath ‘Ronu’ Majumdar, ghazal singer Jaswinder Singh, Sufi singer Kavita Seth and vocalist Savani Shende.
Most of the performances were subdued with artists shying away from improvisation for a more reverent and melancholic tone.
The mood was livened with Jaswinder Singh’s quip when he spotted an audience member talking on her mobile.
“Kya zulm aap karteen hain! Hum idhar ghazal ga rahe, aur aap vahan baat karteen hain! (‘What an injustice, madam, while I sing a ghazal, you choose to gossip),” he asked her.
Singh also dedicated Mirza Ghalib’s ghazal Koi Umeed Bhar Nahi Aathi to the departed maestro.
In another memorable moment, veteran flautist Ronu Majumdar begged leave of the audience to perform a self-composed dhun in Raag Maaj Khamaaj. The dhun left the audience spellbound.
Khan, a Hindustani classical musician famed for his compositions and mastery of the sarod, passed away on June 18. In his 20s, the artist was a court musician to Jodhpur Maharaja Hanumant Singh.
Throughout his life he worked to popularise Indian classical music, efforts that culminated in an Indian music school in California.