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Zuckerman, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and Swapan Chaudhuri

           HEMANT  (an evening raga)   •   Ken Zuckerman

Unless I miss my guess, your Indian music catalog begins with Ravi Shankar at Monterey Pop and ends with George Harrison. Right?

That would have been the case with me as well, but when I lived in Northern CA in the 70s and 80s, I had a number of friends who studied with the esteemed master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael. Ken Zuckerman is the premier example of what this school made possible to westerners. He is globally acclaimed as one of the finest sarod virtuosos performing today. Zuckerman has been a devoted student of Ali Akbar Khan, surely one of the greatest musicians to ever walk our planet, for over 25 years.

Words of high praise from the Indian press and music critics for western players of their music is understandably rare. It takes a lifetime of hard work to approach anything resembling mastery. But you will find moving accounts of Ken's musicianship from the Bombay press at his website.

As you know, the instrument that Ravi Shankar brought to world attention is the sitar. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan brought the sarod to the West. Its body is teak or mahogany, the belly is covered with goat skin, and the unfretted finger board is metal. There are 25 strings, but only 7 are played with a coconut shell plectrum. The others are sympathetic strings, which resonate when the corresponding notes on the main strings are played.

Hemant and other fine recordings by Ken Zuckerman can be purchased at , and come with our highest recommendation. Ken is also the director of the Ali Akbar College of Music in Basel, Switzerland. Please take a moment now to sample the power and the beauty of the sarod on the listen page.    • FG

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