Famous for his work on the tabla (an Indian percussion instrument), this Hindustani and jazz fusion musician was a 1999 recipient of the United States Endowment for the Arts' prestigious National Heritage Fellowship. His other honors include the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Padma Bhushan, and the Grammy Award for World Music.
Before he reached his teenage years, he had begun performing professionally. By the time he was nineteen, he had launched a successful international music career.
He music directed and acted in the 1983 film Heat and Dust.
His father, Alla Rakha, was also a famous tabla player.
He and American bassist Bill Laswell founded a world music band called Tabla Beat Science.