Ali Akbar Khan - Swara Samrat (2003)
"Narayani Gauri" is a new mixture of two traditional ragas ("Narayani" and "Gauri") woven together by Ali Akbar Khan. It is an evening raga mostly used for prayer for one's soul and mind. The moods are devotion, peace, joy, pathos and detachment. "Chandra Dhani" was composed by Khansahib when he went to Washington DC to receive the National Heritage Fellowship in 1997. He performed this raga for the first time at an event showcasing the Fellowship recipients. There was a wonderful moon in the sky. One could see the whole city from where the raga was composed, and the beautiful face of the moon was hanging over the city. This was the mood - peace and joy - Khansahib sought to create through sound. (Chandra means moon and Dhani is the capital city.)
These recordings were made in Sausalito, California, on May 7, 1998 - recorded directly to a hard drive, the first recording AMMP has released without the use of an analog or digital tape.
Ali Akbar Khan, 81, has studied vocal music since the age of three, and went on to learn several instruments before his father decided that he must concentrate on the sarode and singing. For over twenty years, Khansahib trained and practiced 18 hours a day. His father continued to teach him until he was over 100 years old. Khansahib has continued his father's tradition, that of the Sri Baba Allauddin Seni Gharana of Maihar and Rampur, India.
In 1967 he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music, currently located in San Rafael, California, where he teaches four to six classes a week, nine months a year. Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, the brilliant master of the tabla, credits his family for encouragement and training that have earned him a place among the greatest classical musicians of India. He received long training from Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, and has been the Director of Percussion at AACM for the past 21 years.