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Ustad Faiyaz Khan: The tabla Maestro

Faiyaz husain khan tabla

It was the evening with the dark clouds hovering over the heads. I was chewing the fat with a music lover friend at a small eatery in a remote village. At that time, the sky was lighted with a sudden thunderbolt. It was Ustad Faiyaz Khan’s tabla recording that was being played on a local radio station. It mesmerized both of us. We were awestruck for about 20 minutes listening to his celebrated tabla beats.

Slowly and steadily, our banter turned into a serious conversation about Ustad Faiyaz Khan. My friend, who was a tabla payer, went on passing some useful information about Late Ustadji.

The friend told me:

The year 1934 was quite favorable for the town of Sikar (Rajasthan), as there in a family of musicians was born the tabla maestro Faiyaz Khan. His father Nazir Khan was a sarangi and tabla-player at the royal court of Karauli. His elder brother Munir Khan also was a famous sarangi player.

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In the initial years of his traditional music ‘taleem’ (learning music), Faiyaz Khan was taught sarangi with vocal music also. Later, he had Tabla training from Ustad Hidayak Khan and Ustad Inam Ali Khan. Thus, with the tabla, Ustadji also had flair in south Indian rhythms that he learned from a mridangam genius, Ramnad Ishwaran.

Thereafter, in 1955, he was selected as a staff artist at All India Radio Jaipur, until 1958, when he moved to Delhi to join A.I.R. Delhi. There too, he served until his retirement in the year 1993.

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His tabla was a familiar complement with many great vocal as well as instrumental artists. He also had regularly presented his tabla skills as a soloist. Throughout the globe, he had his far-reaching performances.

Apart from his effortlessly moving fingers on tabla, a different sense of God gift Ustadji had. He had played his tabla with three generations of musicians of Indian musicians, from the great music experts of the olden days, his own age group artists to the latest junior artists. It made his experience all-embracing. He also played a role of a tutor at the Washington University, the Rotterdam Conservatory and Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Delhi.

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He was mainly admired for his tabla playing style that was though full of life, yet graceful also with the complicated tabla rhythms. It has always been said about him with great reverence that he made tabla sing with heavenly tones.

To some extent these days, some artists complain about an unprofessional conduct that some percussionists seek to dominate over the main act. However, Ustadji never used o this act of cheap popularity. On the other hand, he was always very keen to get his tabla rhythms absorbed into the main show.

Read Also:Ustad Zakir Hussain: The Magician of the Tabla

This was the magnitude of legendary tabla genius Ustad Faiyaz Khan, who was rested into the soil of his birthplace Sikar after his death at the age of 80. We are sure; the soil too receives some of the finest musical beats, as she has given the eternal rest to her son on her lap there.

Tabla Ustad Faiyaz Khan & Heiko Dijker – Peshkar 24-04-09, Rotterdam

About Pratik Kashallu

Hey Cassicals , I am Pratik Kashallu and I am steady followers of Indian Classical Music…just like you. I’ve have a passion for collecting antique classical gramophone records and record players. Thousands of antique gramophone records and many record players are available in my collection. With this zeal, I am a Admin of world famous Facebook fan page "Indian Classicl Music Fan Club" which is loaded by more than 22K facebook fans and it's total weekly reach is around 90K

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