50 Maestros, 50 Recordings

50 Maestros, 50 Recordings” (HarperCollins Publishers, Dec 2009) is a tribute to select masters of Indian Classical Music who influenced its authors Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan (sons of sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan) the most. It starts with a very brief introduction to Indian Music – Carnatic and Hindustani, with a short explanation of some of the most often used terms in both the systems. There is a short chapter on each of the great artists consisting of

  • a short ‘bio’-like introduction
  • memories of the authors’ interaction with the artist or of having heard their father or of other elderly musicians talk about the artist
  • a list of select recordings of the artist
  • photographs of the artists, many a times taken with the authors

The book also comes along with a CD that contains 27 tracks performed by some of the artists covered in the book.

The target audience seems to be people looking for an introduction to Indian music and its maestros. It could include people who are new to one or both systems of Indian Classical music (Carnatic and Hindustani) and need help in identifying whom to and what to listen to. The book is certainly not a collection of biographies or a detailed account of what constitutes Carnatic or Hindustani music and anybody reading the book with such expectations is bound to get disappointed.

The artists covered in the book are:

  • Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan
  • Ustad Abdul Karim Khan
  • Ustad Ahmed Jaan Thirakhwa
  • Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
  • Ustad Amir Khan
  • Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
  • Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna
  • Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
  • Begum Akhtar
  • Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan
  • D.K. Pattammal
  • Pandit D.V. Paluskar
  • Ustad Enayat Khan
  • Ustad Faiyaz Khan
  • Dr. Gangubai Hangal
  • Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan
  • Girija Devi
  • Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan
  • Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia
  • Ustad Imdad Khan
  • Pandit Jasraj
  • Surashri Kesarbhai Kerkar
  • Pandit Kishan Maharaj
  • Kishori Amonkar
  • Pandit Kumar Gandharva
  • Dr. L. Subramaniam
  • Maharajapuram V. Santhanam
  • M.L. Vasanthakumari
  • Mogubai Kurdikar
  • M.S. Subbulakshmi
  • Pandit Nikhil Banerjee
  • Pandit Omkarnath Thakur
  • Begum Parveen Sultana
  • Ustad Rais Khan
  • Pandit Ravi Shankar
  • S. Balachander
  • Pandit Samta Prasad
  • Semmangudi R. Srinivasa Iyer
  • Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma
  • Shobha Gurtu
  • T.R. Mahalingam
  • Pandit V.G. Jog
  • Ustad Vilayat Khan

There are short chapters on duets between the following artists at the end:

  • Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakhir Hussain
  • Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
  • Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar
  • Ustad Rais Khan and Ustad Sultan Khan
  • Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ustad Bismillah Khan
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3 thoughts on “50 Maestros, 50 Recordings

    • Ram says:

      I think whether the book or the CD is valuable or not depends on who is reading/using them. The CD, as you say, is certainly valuable to someone who doesn’t already have these recordings.

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