When the Sarod Ghar (museum of Indian classical music), in Gwalior, India, began its collection, it was fitting that the tabla (Indian drums) of Ustad Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa was included. One of the most influential players of the tabla, Thirakwa inspired several generations of players who followed in his footsteps. Rootsworld referred to him as a "once in a century phenomenon." Initially taught the tabla by his father -- Hussain Baksh, a sarod player -- Thirakwa polished his skills under Ustad Munir Khan. Although he studied the full spectrum of tabla playing, he remained rooted in the Farrukkabad style. The recipient of a Central Sangeet Natak Academy award for "contributions to the art of tabla playing," in 1954, Thirakwa had been recording 78 rpms since the late '40s. His final album, Thirakwa, was recorded during a 1964 concert in Bombay. His solo recitals were regularly aired by All-India radio. Thirakwa's legacy has been inherited by his former student, Trilok Gurtu.
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