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`Vilayat Khan, a maverick musician'

LONDON, MARCH 25. Paying rich tributes to sitar maestro Vilayat Khan who died recently, a leading London daily today described him as a ``maverick'' musician, considered by many as the ``greatest'' sitarist of his age.

``Many people considered Vilayat Khan, who died aged 75 of cancer, to be the greatest sitarist of his age. Inevitably, comparisons were made between Khan and Ravi Shankar, but in one respect Khan certainly outshone Shankar: his personality could be as difficult as his musical solutions in improvised compositions were maverick; and he famously turned down awards that others lusted after,'' The Guardian wrote.

Khan was born in Gouripur (now Bangladesh) and dripped musical pedigree.

His paternal grandfather Imdad Khan (1848-1920) was so highly regarded that they renamed the Etawah Gharana (school and style of interpretation) after him. Khan's father, Inayat Khan (1894-1938), advanced the Imdadkhani Gharana's reputation, the paper said.

In 1936, Vilayat Khan made his first recording for the Megaphone Company a B-side of one of his father's 78s.

That same year he made his debut at the All-Bengal Music Conference at the Madan Theatre in Kolkata.

The death of Khan's father two years later robbed him of his teacher. It fell to his mother, Bashiran Begum, herself the product of several generations of vocalists, his paternal uncle Wahid Khan, his maternal uncle Zindo Hussain Khan and his maternal grandfather Bande Hussain Khan to teach him.

It created a confluence of influences.

He imbibed the work of vocal maestros such as Abdul Karim Khan and Alladiya Khan, and also delighted in Bela Bartok, his ``absolute favourite'' Western composer. — PTI

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