He is one the greatest Indian musicians of all time, and he lived half of his 87-year life right in our midst.
Ali Akbar Khan, an Indian classical musician revered by the likes of Carlos Santana and Mickey Hart, exposed thousands in the West to the capitivating music of his country as both a Grammy-nominated performer and as founder and teacher of the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in San Rafael.
Khan, widely known as simply Khansahib – a compound of (khan) and sahib (master) – is the subject of a moving new documentary, Play Like a Lion: The Legacy of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, which gets its U.S. premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Oct. 9 and 12.
The film is also the platform for one of the live music events that have become a staple of the festival over the years. Play Like a Lion Live" takes place Oct. 15 at and includes a number of the artists featured in the film expounding on their love of Khansahib.
Hart has already agreed to appear at the event, as has John Handy, the vaunted jazz saxophonist who collaborated with Khan in 1975 for Karuna Supreme, an early fusion of jazz and Indian music. African drummer Kwaku Daddy is also slared to perform.
The event also features Khan’s eldest son, Alam Khan, whose journey to assume the responsibility and leadership of his father’s legacy is chronicled in the film. Khan teaches at the Khan school and has traveled to India several times to perform on the sarode.
MVFF34 also features another live music event, with the Gonzalo Bergara Quartet, which plays a modern variant of Django Reinhardt’s Gypsy jazz, performing at the Throckmorton Oct. 13. Go to the Throckmorton’s website for more info.
The 411: "Play Like a Lion Live" at 142 Throckmorton Theatre, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. features Alam Khan and musicians from the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music as well as Mickey Hart, John Handy and surprise guests. Tickets are $50.