Alla Rakha Biography: Indian Musician & Master Of Hindustani Classical Music

Alla Rakha Biography, which musical instrument Alla Rakha Khan is famous for, the father Of Ustad Zakir Hussain, and a few more questions related to the renowned Tabla player – Alla Rakha Khan are discussed below.

Alla Rakha Biography

Ustad Alla Rakha Qureshi, popularly known as Alla Rakha, an Indian tabla player; born on 29 April 1919 in Ghagwal, a village in Jammu, and Kashmir in a Muslim Dogra family. His father wanted him to be a musician and to learn how to sing and play musical instruments. He had an admirable vision of music. 

His determination towards music made him run away from home and decide to live with his uncle in the neighboring city – Gurdaspur, at a very adolescent age, he was nearly twelve.

Mian Kader Baksh is one of the tabla players of the ‘Punjab Gharana’ who taught him tabla and later adopted him as he had no sons and called Rakha the next head of the ‘Punjab Gharana.’

He took ‘Raag Vidya’: vocal training in classical music under the supervision of Ashiq Ali Khan of the ‘Patiala Gharana,’ and it took a lot of dedication and commitment, hours of practice, and strictness in his sessions was unbelievable, and he knew that this hard work would pay off later in his future. 

In Lahore, he began his career as an accompanist; in 1936, he went to Delhi, where he worked as a staffer in All India Radio. Later on, he moved to Bombay in 1940 and started working in the Film Industry known as Bollywood; from 1943 to 1964, he composed 23 films. He composed music in both Hindi and Punjabi movies. 

Ravi Shankar was superintendent for introducing tabla to the western audience. Although, he still played as an accompanist for virtuosos like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Vilayat Khan, Alauddin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Vasant Rai, and Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha’s duo became one of the most famed and popular duos. They portrayed India at numerous international music festivals. For George Harrison’s concert for Bangladesh shows held in New York City in August 1971, they accompanied him. 

Leading American percussionist in rock n’ roll, such as the ‘Grateful Dead’s – Mickey Hart, he admired him and studied his technique; Hart, a published authority on percussion in ‘music world’ said ‘Alla Rakha is the einstein, the Picasso; he is the highest form of rhythmic development on the planet. Rakha also collaborated with jazz drummer Buddy Rich on their 1968 album rich a` la Rakha. 

Bavi Begum married Alla Rakha Khan; she was her cousin. They had five children altogether three sons – Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi, and Taufik Qureshi and two daughters – Khurshid Qureshi and Razia Qureshi.

He was awarded the most civilian award of India, the Padma Shri, in 1977 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1982.

He single-handedly popularised the art of tabla, specialized more in Hindustani classical music.

On 3rd February 2000, Alla Rakha died due to a heart attack following the pain of her daughter’s death in his Simla house.

Which Musical Instrument Is Alla Rakha Khan Famous For?

Alla Rakha Khan was an outstanding tabla player and was recognized extensively in his days in India for Hindustani Classical Music. His audience used to call him “Abbaji” as an honor to bestow him.


Father Of Ustad Zakir Hussain?

Ustad Zakir Hussian is one of the eldest sons of Alla Rakha; he’s also a tabla player, composer,  music producer, percussionist, and film actor.

Ustad Zakir Hussain

Ace Instrumentalist Alla Rakha Khan Is Associated With?

Alla Rakha was more often accompanied by Pandit Ravi Shankar: Sitar player; he performed at multiple shows and concerts with him, and Ravi Shankar was the one who introduced tabla and made it famous to the western audience. 

Alla Rakha And Zakir Hussain Jugalbandi

Alla Rakha Awards

He has won India’s highest civilian award, the Sangeet Nakat Akademi Award for Hindustani music – Instrumental (Tabla) in 1982, and Padma Shri in 1977. 

Who Is The Father Of Alla Rakha?

Mian Kadir Bakhsh, one of the tabla players of the ‘Punjab Gharana’ who had no children, later adopted Alla Rakha and made him the next head of the ‘Punjab Gharana.’

A Noted Tabla Player Whose Son Ustad Zakir Hussain Is Also A Great Tabla Player

Alla Rakha’s son Ustad Zakir Hussain is a great Indian tabla virtuous composer, percussionist, music producer, and film actor. He is the eldest son of Alla Rakha. 


So, above I’ve discussed Alla Rakha Biography and have also answered a few questions related to him.

Alla Rakha is one of the greatest tabla players of all time in the history of Indian Hindustani Classical Music.

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