Rasarang’s ragas soar above the ordinary, leading you to restoration and contemplation. After nearly a half-century as the devoted student of Ali Akbar Khan (Khansahib), Rajeev Taranath himself has achieved the emotional expression and technical restraint of a sarod master.

Rajeev Taranath




Producer: Ates Temeltas
Recorded on April 26, 2003 in Los Angeles, California
Recorded and Mixed by Rob Beaton and Chad Hamill
Photographs by Ates Temeltas
Graphic Design by Siir Özbilge

Rajeev Taranath

(Born in Bangalore, India on October 17, 1932)

I will just close my eyes, listen to the mood and absorb what is going on around me and the music will come. 'You are the music while it lasts, as T.S. Elliot once said'. – Rajeev Taranath

Rajeev Taranath is one of the leading performers of the sarod today. Hailed a prodigy in Hindustani vocal music, Rajeev Taranath had been earlier trained by his father Pandit Taranath and other eminent musicians and was a concert and radio artist before he was twenty.

In his early twenties, he attended a concert in Bangalore that would forever change the direction of his music and his life, a duet between Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (Khansahib) and Pandit Ravi Shankar. Rajeevji describes the impact Khansahib’s playing had on him that fateful evening:

“All ambitions and dreams disappeared when I heard Khansahib’s sarod. When the concert ended, like the aftermath of a thunder shower, everything was so clear to me... like you hear separate drops of water dropping off ends of leaves, clearly, like that.”

Soon after, he began his training under Khansahib, a path from then until now that stretches nearly a half-century. Rajeevji has also received important guidance from the two other legendary musicians of the Maihar lineage, Pt. Ravi Shankar and Smt. Annapurna Devi.

Rajeev has toured extensively as a performer in India, Australia, Europe, Yemen and throughout the U.S. He has also composed music for several nationally and internationally honored Indian films. He is the recipient of the Indian Government’s highest award in the arts, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 1999-2000, given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of Hindustani Instrumental music. In 1998 he received the prestigious national Award, 'Chowdiah Award for Music', from the Government of Karnataka in India for excellence in the field of instrumental music. He has also received awards from the Indian State Government of Karnataka for his contribution to music, – the Sangeet Nritya Akademi Award in 1993 and the Karnataka Rajya Prashasti in 1996. In 1980 he was the subject of a documentary made for the television in Eden, Yemen, entitled ‘Finnan Min-Al-Hind’ (Artist from India).

Pt. Taranath’s early exposure to diverse languages has made him a respected linguist. He has written literary criticism on Kannada works, and is proficient in Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu and some Arabic.

Rajeev Taranath was a Ford Foundation scholar from 1989 to 1992 and researched during this period on the Teaching Techniques of the Maihar-Allaudin Gharana (or music lineage).

Rajeev Taranath shares deep concerns with others of strong social consciousness especially in regard to today’s movement in India and the world toward communalism and religious fundamentalism. Throughout his life he has kept questions about the nature of social inequities at a constant boil -- putting pressure on himself and others to think and feel more deeply about their humanity, hoping to provoke reflection and thoughtful response.

He is currently head of the Indian music program in the World Music Department at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, California where he teaches six months of the year. He spends the remaining part of the year in India and performing worldwide.