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Ajrara gharana or Ajrada gharana is one of the six main traditional schools in tabla drum. This school was founded in the nineteenth century by Miru and Kallu, disciples of Sitab Khan of the Delhi gharana, at the Ajrara village, in Uttar Pradesh.
Clarity of sound is made possible by the propensity for using the index and middle fingers in the traditional manner. The Ajrara gharana style includes bol patterns that are rather complicated, much more than does the Delhi gharana, and for the purpose the third fingers are brought into play as well. Pakhawaj bols are rarely encountered in this gharana. Similarly, the gharana's repertoire does not include many fixed compositions.
Ajrada is most well known for its theme and various compositions (qaidas and relas) as well as its beautiful and balanced bayan work. The qaidas of Ajrada, often, have an additional second line; this is one of the few "gifts" of Ajrada to the tabla world.
Though, on the world stage Ajrada is weakly represented, the gharanas compositions are played by almost everyone. In the recent past, Ut Habibuddin Khan associated with Ajrada. Maestros like Ut Ahmed Jan Thirakwa and Ut Shaik Dawood also presented many rare and poetic compositions of Ajrada.
Ut Manju Khan Sahib, son and student of Ut Habibuddin Khan Sahib, is a great representative of Ajrada gharana. Pt Sudhirkumar Saxena, student of Habibuddin Khan, taught the late Shri Madhukar Gurav and Pt Divyang Vakil.
Ut Ghulam Sarvar Sabri and Ut Akram Khan are notable tablaiyas who present the gharana's compositions in their full glory. Aman Ali, Athar Hussain, Anil Kumar, disciples of Ut Manju Khan Sahib are representing this gharana tradition set by Ut Habibuddin Khan.
- The Major Traditions of North Indian Tabla Drumming: A Survey Presentation Based on Performances by India's Leading Artists, by Robert S. Gottlieb. Pub. Musikverlag E. Katzbichler, 1977. ISBN 387397300.