A full-day concert, reminiscent of the all-day, all-night affairs of the past, will be held in memory of the late sarod maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (Khansahib) in an annual birthday tribute.

The day’s events will begin with a series of free performances. The first will be a group of Anuradha Sridhar’s vocal students from her Trinity Center for Music. Following this will be the Ali Akbar College of Music’s (AACM) instrumental ensemble, who will pay homage to Khansahib’s prodigious talent as a performer and teacher. With Arjun Verma and Ben Araki on sitar, Mallar Bhattacharya and Manik Khan on sarod, and Jim Santi Owen on tabla, the ensemble has a tremendous, lively sound.


The final performance for the afternoon will be given by the versatile and accomplished sitarist Anupama Bhagwat, in one of her rare performances in the Bay Area, accompanied by Indranil Mallick on tabla.

Khansahib was one of India’s most accomplished classical musicians. Though considered a “National Living Treasure” in India, both Eastern and Western musicians admired him for his brilliant compositions and his mastery of the sarod.

His life took on an epic stature, from a sheltered small town boy, living in the shadow of his great father, to performing in the major classical music venues around the world.  In 1965 he came to Berkeley, California, to teach for the Asian Society of Eastern Arts. He would remain in California, spreading the teachings of his father. In 1967, he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music, in Marin County, maintaining a regular teaching schedule for the next 40 years.

The evening performance will showcase Aruna Narayan, one of Indian classical music’s only performing female sarangi players, and daughter of the great Pandit Ram Narayan. Local tabla player, Satish Tare, will be accompanying her.


Continuing in the Khan family musical tradition, Khansahib’s younger son, Alam Khan will perform a solo on sarod with tabla master, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Alam Khan, has performed as a Hindustani musician and vocalist across the globe to sold-out audiences and currently teaches at the college. Tabla master, Swapan Chaudhuri is recognized internationally, his music reaching beyond the classical genre to include performances with musicians such as Stevie Wonder and L. Shankar. Alam spent the first 10 years of his professional life travelling around the world performing with his father, often accompanied by Chaudhuri. This performance, in honor Khansahib’s memory promises to be memorable for both of them.

In inviting the public to enjoy the music of the college, students, teachers and friends of the college hope to share Ali Akbar Khan’s legacy, their ultimate wish expressed so poetically by the late master himself, “Our sages developed music from time immemorial for the mind to take shelter in that pure being which stands apart from the body and mind as one’s true self. Real music is not for wealth, not for honors or even for the joys of the mind, but as a path for realization and salvation. This is what I truly feel.”

Saturday, April 21, 2 p.m. (free programs); 7 p.m. (ticketed programs). Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. $24.50 advance; $26.50 at door. (510) 644-2020.

Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor,...