Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa was born in Moradabad, State of Uttar Pradesh, India. His exact date of birth is unknown, but it is estimated by experts to be in the mid 1880's.
In his lifetime, he grew to be one of India's greatest musicians, and certainly one of the very few top tabla players of all time. It is said that Ustad Thirakwa performed the very first public tabla solo, when the “main” performer failed to show up at the concert, and Ustad Thirakwa, slated to be the accompanist, went on stage as the featured solo artist. Up to that time, it was unheard of that a tabla player would perform a solo in concert, something that is today accepted as an integral part of Indian classical music. He performed and recorded with generations of musicians and continued to play tabla up to the end of his phenomenal life. Towards the end of his earthly journey, while in the hospital, he requested his tabla drums to be brought to him so he could play even while bedridden!
"The Genius of Thirakwa" is a compilation of tabla solos recorded when he was still a young man, in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Through digital remastering at Sony Studios, New York, we now hear the beauty of his sound in detail that was not even heard in the original recordings. The subtleties of his fingers and hands on the drums are now revealed to those who appreciate the art of the tabla solo at its highest level.
In this CD release, Simla House has included an eight page booklet with a detailed description of the tracks by tabla master Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. We have also included rare photos of the Ustad taken from the era that the music was originally recorded.
Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa Khansahib passed away in 1976. His death was mourned by throngs of musicians and devoted listeners in India. His music, and life are remembered as a treasure bestowed upon kings and the common man alike. For those of us who were lucky enough to have heard the Ustad in his lifetime and the rest of us who only have heard about him and what little recorded material is available, we hope this recording will rekindle those memories and inspire a new generation of people worldwide who believe, as Swami Vivekananda said, “Music is the highest art, and to those who understand, is the highest worship.”