He creates tunes effortlessly on keyboard

Undaunted spirit:Visually challenged keyboard player Allah Baksh at a rehearsal in Vijayawada on Saturday.— Photo: Ch.Vijaya BhaskarThis 70-year-old keyboard player is the most-sought musical performer in Hyderabad and no music programme, based on Hindi songs, is complete without his presence. He is in the field of music for over 50 years and he is visually impaired.

Meet Allah Baksh, a native of Krishna district and an erstwhile resident of Vijayawada (from 1958 to 1971) before making his entry to Hyderabad to make a living in music.

“I never thought my blindness was a curse. I took up music and began playing harmonium. In late 50s, we had an amusement park near Hotel New India in Gandhinagar and I used play harmonium for the dance numbers,” says Mr. Baksh, who is a contemporary of Madhavapeddi Suresh, a popular music director.

The Pedana-born artist gradually shifted to accordion and later to electronic keyboard.

Be it the classical compositions of Naushad, Khayyam and O.P. Nayyar or the racy interludes of R.D. Burman, Mr. Baksh remembers all of them and seldom makes a mistake. “I have been listening to these compositions for decades. I do not follow notations as I can’t see.

Though there are modern methods to read and understand notations, I prefer to rely on my intuition,” says the veteran keyboard player.

Like a busy bee, Mr. Baksh and his younger son – an electronic pad player – move around twin cities performing at marriages, social gatherings and at musical programmes.

He has performed with popular playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and Bollywood’s famous duo Kalyanji- Anandji.

For the up and coming keyboard players, Mr. Baksh is a living legend for he makes playing effortless.

“It is a treat to watch his fingers criss-crossing on the levers. He puts a man with vision to shame while changing the tones of the instruments without fuss. It is God’s gift,” says Sunil, a keyboard player.

“The singer feels confident while rendering songs if Mr. Baksh is playing the keyboard. He is so perfect and brings out the original sound of the composer,” says Mohammad, a singer with over 30-years of experience.

While welcoming the constant technological innovations in musical instruments, the veteran artist believes in regular riyaaz (practice) for success. “There is no short cut.

By regular practice one can master the intricacies of the compositions. Ultimately our job is to enthral and entertain the audience with quality music,” says Mr. Baksh before leaving to Thummalapalli Kalakshetram for a programme.



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