Ustad Zakir Hussain
Ustad Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have not only established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, but gained him worldwide fame. Ustadji is full of humility while living and breathing music.
He is universally acknowledged as a virtuoso, composer and percussionist whose tabla performances are of the “highest order and marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity”. He is one who did not stop after mastering Hindustani classical music but has also collaborated, jammed and made music with many Western musicians, in the process bagging both a Sangeet Natak Akademi and a Grammy.
The favorite accompanist for many of India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers, from Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar to Birju Maharaj and Shivkumar Sharma, he has not let his genius rest there. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study.
A lot of charisma and charm flows out of Zakir Hussain when he plays. The gifted Tabla Maestro shakes and nods his head at the audience impishly; smiles infectiousy and his fingers magically fly over his Tabla in perfect rhythm and with constant verve and confidence. He is in every way what an artist should be and proves himself one at every turn , whether it is displaying the creativity of percussion or interacting with the audience. Zakir Hussain totally disarms one by his easy going attitude and friendly smile. Playing the Tabla for him means, having a really good time.
Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Zakir’s contribution to world music has been unique, with many historic collaborations including Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar, the Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony.
A child prodigy, Zakir was touring by the age of twelve, the gifted son of his great father, tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha. Zakir came to the United States in 1970, embarking on an international career which includes no fewer than 150 concert dates a year.
Zakir received the distinct honor of co-composing the opening music for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, 1996.
He has composed for many English movies like Apocalypse Now, In Custody, Little Buddha, The Mystic Masseur, Heat and Dust.
Please view two clips of a movie made by Mr. Sumantra Ghosal “The speaking hand” on Ustad Zakir Hussain. For rest of the clips you can go to youtube and watch for your inspiring pleasure.
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