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Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy (October 31, 1928 – June 20, 2009) was a professor of folk and classical music of South Asia at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the founding chair of the Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology. He was appointed professor of music at UCLA in 1976, and retired in 1994. He was president of the Society for Ethnomusicology.[1][2]


Although born in England to Indian parents, he was educated in India. He began sitar studies as a child in Bombay from Madhav Lal. In 1968, credited as "Soma", he played sitar on the Incredible String Band's album The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion.[3]

After graduation from the Doon School[4] and the University of Washington.[4] He was a student of Dr. Arnold Adriaan Bake at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, receiving his doctorate in 1971.[4]

He produced more than 100 publications as well as audio and video productions on both classical and folk music of India.[citation needed] He founded the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ACRE) of the American Institute of Indian Studies in New Delhi.[citation needed]

He was married to the ethnomusicologist and singer Dr. Amy Caitlin-Jairazbhoy and they both co-owned Apsara Media for Intercultural Education in Van Nuys, California.[citation needed]

Major publicationsEdit

  • The Rags of North Indian Music: Their Structure and Evolution Popular Prakashan:Bombay 1995, ISBN 81-7154-395-2 (First published by Faber and Faber, 1971)
  • Hi-Tech Shiva and Other Apocryphal Stories: An Academic Allegory.
  • A Musical Journey through India, 1963-1964 (video)
  • Bake Restudy in India: 1938-1984 (jointly with A. Catlin), a video which received an award from the Society for Visual Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association, and
  • Retooling a Tradition: A Rajasthani Puppet Takes Umbrage at his Stringholders (a fictional documentary)


  1. ^ "Passings". Los Angeles Times. 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  2. ^ "Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy: 1927-2009". UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. 2009-06-24. Archived from the original on September 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  3. ^ Adrian Whittaker (ed.), Be Glad: The Incredible String Band Compendium, 2003, ISBN 1-900924-64-1
  4. ^ a b c "The Rāgs of North Indian Music: Their Structure and Evolution - Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy - Google Books". Retrieved 2014-08-20.

External linksEdit