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Precious legacy

RANEE KUMAR
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Music Mohd. Yasin Khan talks about his love for the rabab and his family of musicians. RANEE KUMAR

Mohd Yasin Khan.
Mohd Yasin Khan.

W e are told that it's a 300-year-old instrument. It has a close resemblance to the sarod – a later version of the original rabab. Rabab is a string instrument shaped out of wood with the broad front base in leather and strings in nylon. It is predominantly Afghan in nature.

Musician-composer Mohd. Yasin Khan who has been in the profession for the past 45 years, plays this archaic instrument, apart from the violin, clarionet and the keyboard.

He has been associated with music compositions for films ever since the Amitabh-Jaya Bachchan starrer ‘Zanjeer's' popular song (‘Yaari Hai Iman Mera Yaar Meri Zindagi') hit the cha

rts. He has composed music for numerous films and played for the likes of Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi, Shailendra and Jagjit Singh. He is also well versed in classical music.

“Music is a hereditary art for us. My forefathers were musicians of repute in Afghanistan and moved over to India two generations ago, in search of greener pastures. The families settled down in Mumbai (then Bombay). My father Sadiq Khan was a shehnai player and he was my first ustad. All my brothers are instrumentalists too My father was against teaching me a wind instrument which he felt was a health hazard in later days. So, I was taught the violin and rabab,” says the suave Yasin.

Passion and livelihood

Under the tutelage of A.S. Ramanjulu and Ustad Ahmed Khan, Yasin was able to play more than one instrument.

His ancestors belonged to the Abdul Ghafoor Khan gharana in Afghanistan. Music was in his blood and it turned into a passion and his livelihood. “There was no time to study with eight hours practice a day which made me delirious with happiness.”

“I have the Telugu film industry beckoning me to compose music. But for a few stage shows once in a while and except for special traditional occasions, I hardly play the rabab. Composing music for movies takes care of my daily bread. And I am comfortably placed and content…,” he says humbly.

Surprisingly, none of his four sons are into music. On request, he takes up the rabab, sits cross-legged and plays an Arabic dhun followed by a Pathani dhun transporting you to heaven.

And with the sweet music lingering, you take leave of this unique musician.


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