Would it be an exaggerated statement to call Ustad Zakir Hussain as ‘a magician of the tabla’?
No certainly not…!
Credentials are thus.
Zakir Hussain is respected as one of the greatest musicians of our time. Through his stirring performances, he is now known as an Indian cultural envoy. His renowned father and teacher Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain have made the tabla very popular both in India and the abroad. He is also known for his miraculous perception and liveliness while playing the tabla.
He was born on the 9th March 1951 in Mumbai and through his unbelievable hard work has established himself as the tabla genius. His father Alla Rakha is also a celebrity tabla player. Zakir Hussain’s wife Antonia Minnecola, is a Kathak dancer and teacher, and his manager also. Now he resides in San Francisco.
From the childhood, he had an immense attraction for the tabla and for concerts has been continually travelling since the age of 10. In 1970, when he played his miraculous tabla in the US, at the Fillmore East in New York City with Pandit Ravi Shankar, it was the initiation of his international career.
If to speak about his curriculum studies, he had his schooling at St. Michael’s High School (Mahim, Mumbai) and graduation from St. Xavier’s, Mumbai.
In his cap, Ustad Zakir Hussain has other feathers as a professor, musical producer, film actor and composer.
In 2005–2006, he taught the tabla at Princeton University and was a visiting professor at Stanford University.
As a film actor, Zakir Hussain has his roles in many films with the demonstration of his tabla playing. To name a few of them are the documentaries like “Zakir and His Friends”, “The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum” and “Heat and Dust”, for which he was an associate music director.
In the Malayalam film Vanaprastham, he contributed as the composer, performer and actor. With this, he has composed many soundtracks for movies, like ‘In Custody’ and ‘The Mystic Masseur’, and played tabla in’ Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Little Buddha’ and other films.
With Bill Laswell, Ustad Zakir Hussain founded ‘World Music Supergroup’ Tabla Beat Science.
Zakir Hussain was awarded the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He was awarded the United States Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship, the most celebrated award given to traditional artists and musicians.
Below is a video of Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain Duet in Ektaal must see !