Monday, January 09, 2006
Meeting Ustaad Zakir Hussain
Ustaad Zakir Hussain is one of the most charismatic musicians of India. I had seen him act in movies, or playing the tabla on tv, or promoting Taj Mahal tea in commercials. But nothing beats the experience of meeting the man in person.
Jan 8. Sunday. Noon. I reached the New Age Indigo Bar in Boat Quay braving the incessant rain. Ustaad Zakir Hussain was to meet the presswallahs there. He was on his way to the USA where he was teaching music at the Princeton University.
The Ustaad is holding a major show "Kaleidoscope of Rhythms" (World Fusion Music) on Feb. 5, 2006 (7: 30 pm) at the Esplanade Concert Hall. The show will also feature percussionists and musicians such as Terry Bozzio, Giovanni Hidalgo, U Shrinivas (Mandolin), Fazal Qureshi (Tabla), Salim Merchant (Keyboard), Vijay Chauhan (Dholki), and Kala Ramnath (Violin).
The press meet was meant to brief the journos about the show. The turn out was good--who could resist the charm of Zakir Hussain, even on a rainy day.
From the moment he burst into the room (an informal setting of low laying Indian style furniture), Zakir Saheb took over the scene. After personally meeting everyone, he started talking about the gig and the musicians. His talk was so lively and so full of erudition, and at the same time, he was able to present his knowledge and his sense of Indian music in such a simple manner that I was thoroughly bewildered. He was articulate like a professor. No wonder he is teaching at an Ivy League university.
His talk ranged from his own musical inspirations to Bollywood and Hollywood music. I will write about it in a different piece. But from the discussion, I am sure the Feb gig in Singapore is going to be a mind-blowing experience. Those who cannot come to Singapore can catch the ensemble at Bombay and Dubai around the same time. Not to be missed. (Tickets are on sale through SISTIC Hotline and outlest islandwise)