Ustad Rashid Khan: Melodious Departure


The Maestro of Hindustani Classical Music, Ustad Rashid Khan Passed Away at 55.

The musician needed ventilation support. He was a member of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana. After suffering a brain attack last month, his condition worsened.

Born in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh, Ustad Rashid Khan was first trained by Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, his maternal grand-uncle. He was a member of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, which is closely associated with the Gwalior Gharana and is distinguished by its medium-slow tempos, full-throated voice, and complex rhythmic play.

Throughout his illustrious career, Ustad Rashid Khan’s performances were not just concerts; they were journeys through the emotional landscapes of life.┬áHis khayals and thumris weren’t mere musical notes but a profound expression of the human experience.┬áThe timbre of his voice could evoke joy, sorrow, and everything in between, resonating with the collective heartbeat of his audience.

Ustad Rashid Khan had a profound connection with the Gwalior musical lineage, renowned for the Ramapur-Sahaswan style of singing. This style encapsulates a moderate to slow pace, a resonant voice, and intricate rhythmic accompaniment. Much like his ancestors, Ustad Rashid Khan incorporated an expansive and leisurely approach into his vilambit khayal, showcasing exceptional expertise in the use of sargam and intricate taankari (playing within the scale). He drew inspiration from the styles of Amir Khan and Bhimsen Joshi, enriching his own musical expression.

As a disciple, he followed the footsteps of his guru in the art of tarana, but he infused his own unique style. Rather than relying on a stroke-based instrumental style, Ustad Rashid Khan prioritized the khayal style, a choice that earned him recognition akin to the renowned Nisar Hussain. expanses of melodic expression. Ustad Rashid Khan once remarked, “Emotional content can be present in alaap, sometimes during bandish singing, or while expressing the meaning of a song.” This brought a touch of modernity to his style when compared to the traditional maestros, who often emphasized powerful techniques and intricate pathways.

Innovatively, Rashid Khan also experimented by merging classical Hindustani music with lighter musical styles, as seen in his Sufi fusion recording “Naina Piya” (featuring Amir Khusro’s compositions) or engaging in collaborative musical events with Western instrumentalist Louis Banks. He also engaged in jugalbandi (musical duets) with sitar player Shahid Parvez and others, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of his musical prowess.


Padma Shri (2006)

Banga Bhushan in (2012)

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2006)

Global Indian Music Academy Awards (GIMA) (2010)

Maha Sangeet Samman Award (2012)

Mirchi Music Awards (2013)

Padma Bhushan (2022)

After being admitted to a private hospital in east Kolkata on November 22, 2023, due to an intracerebral hemorrhage, Ustad Rashid Khan was treated conservatively by a group of neurosurgeons. His condition quickly deteriorated despite his initial recovery due to an infection he contracted in the hospital. He was placed on a ventilator early that morning, and by 3:45 pm, all attempts to bring him back to consciousness failed.

Ustad Khan, who is survived by his spouse and two kids, was honoured with several honors throughout the years, including the Banga Bibhushan, Padma Shri in 2006, Padma Bhushan in 2022, and Sangeet Mahasamman. Even though he was born in Uttar Pradesh, he settled in West Bengal since he loved life there. According to the announcement, his body will receive a gun salute on Wednesday afternoon, followed by the last rituals.

As we say goodbye to this musical quality, we are left with his timeless recordings, every sound that matches his passion, devotion and deep love for ancient traditions While his absence left a void in the world of music, the contribution of Ustad Rashid Khan will so continue to resonate It will ensure that the passion for art remains alive forever.


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