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Sarodist Ali Akbar Kahn comes to campus

By David Rodriguez
Arts Editor

Ali Akbar Kahn, a famous Indian sarod player, is performing Saturday night in Kresge Auditorium. The show is organized by the Indian student's association and ASHA-MIT, an action group for basic education in India.

The sarod is one of the most respected instruments in Indian tradition. It's similar to a steel guitar or banjo but has 25 strings and is played with a pick made of polished coconut shell.

Kahn was one of the people responsible for bringing the sarod to world-wide attention. He learned Indian raga from his father, the musician Allauddin Khan, and for over 20 years practiced 18 hours a day. He has won honorary degrees from several universities and was a recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship for his life's work.

Kahn made his American debut in 1955 and has since played with George Harrison and Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden. This will be his first visit to Boston since his last sold-out concert in Kresge in 1993.

Saturday's show is the second of two fundraisers, the first being two weeks ago with the Indian dancer Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, who Encyclopedia Britannica calls "the principle 20th century figure of Odissi dance."

Odissi dance is one of India's seven classical dance forms. Because of suppression by foreign rulers, Odissi dance was in danger of being lost. Mohapatra is one of a handful of dancers responsible for keeping Odissi dance alive.

Tickets for this Saturday's show are available in advance from MIT Heritage of the Arts of South Asia by calling 258-7971. Prices are $50, $25, and $15.