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Vilayat Khan

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Vilayat Khan (Bangla: িবলােয়ত খাঁ Bilaeet Khã) (b. August 8, 1928–March 13, 2004) was one of India’s well known sitar maestros, born in Gauripur in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. He recorded his first 78-RPM disc at the age of 8, and gave his last concert in 2004 at the age of 75.

Vilayat Khan was born into a family of musicians tracing its pedigree generations back to the court musicians of the Mughal rulers. His father was Enayat Khan (1895–1938), recognized as a leading sitar and surbahar (bass sitar) player of his time, as had been the grandfather, Imdad Khan (1848–1920), before him. Vilayat was taught in the family style, known as the Imdadkhani Gharana (school), or Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Imdad lived.

However, Enayat Khan died when Vilayat was only nine, so much of his education came from the rest of his family: his uncle, sitar and surbahar maestro Wahid Khan, his maternal grandfather, singer Bande Hassan Khan, and his mother, Bashiran Begum, who had studied the practice procedure of Imdad, Enayat and Wahid. Vilayat’s uncle Zinde Hassan looked after his riyaz (practice). As a boy, Vilayat wanted to be a singer; but his mother, herself from a family of vocalists, felt he had a strong responsibility to bear the family torch as a sitar maestro.

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