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Google honours tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha on his 95th birthday with a doodle

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Indian tabla maestro who frequently accompanied Ravi Shankar would have turned 95 today. Google India has marked the 95th birthday of tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha with a doodle dedicated to him. The non-animated doodle shows a smiling Alla Rakha with his eyes closed playing the tabla, which replaces the two ‘o’s of Google.


Born in Jammu on 29 April 1919, Alla Rakha left home at 15 to pursue his dreams and travelled to Lahore to receive training from Ustad Kadir Baksh, head of the Punjab gharana (tradition). Later, Kadir Baksh formally adopted him and designated him as the next head of the gharana.

Alla Rakha worked at All India Radio in Delhi and then Bombay in the 1940s. He also composed music for a few Hindi films. His partnership with Ravi Shankar began in the early 1950s and their names became synonymous with Indian music in the west, both performing at Woodstock in 1969.

Alla Rakha was also featured in Shankar Family & Friends, one of the first releases on George Harrison’s Dark Horse label in 1974, which showcased Indian musicians alongside western artists including Billy Preston and Klaus Voormann.

Alla Rakha died on 3 February 2000, following a heart attack and after learning of his daughter Razia‘s death the previous day. His sons Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi and Taufiq Qureshi are also well-known musicians.

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