Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the greatest Hindustani classical music singer of his generation, was stubbornly unwilling to record in 1948. A very famous producer of the day, and devotee Bade Ghulam’s, sought him out to try to entice him to record in the studio, and found him living the care of prostitutes in a brothel in Bombay. The producer coaxed him into the studio, where he was still reluctant to sing. The producer, knowing his weaknesses, had procured a bottle of very good scotch, which he offered to Bade Ghulam, with the invitation to demonstrate the fine points of certain raags. Before long the tapes were roiling, and the result was one of the greatest vocal recordings of Indian classical music.

I have to admit that I always listened to Indian music with the idea that the musicians were somehow saints, people who had achieved some higher reality, so this story came as a bit of a surprise. In fact Bade Ghulam All Khan was a bluesman, pure and simple. as were his fellow musicians. Now that i am older, I am grateful for meeting saints in whatever form they choose to appear


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