Zakir Hussain is revered 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 established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, and earned him worldwide fame. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study. He is the favorite accompanist for many of India's greatest classical musicians and dancers.
On Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28, concertgoers will have an opportunity to experience Zakir Hussain's mastery of the tabla, as well as the virtuosity of finest percussionists from India’s classical and folk traditions, including Sabir Khan (sarangi, lute), Ganesh and Kumaresh (violins), Taufiq Qureshi (percussion), Navin Sharma (dholak, two-headed folk drum), Sridar Parthasarathy (mridangam, barrel drum), and the breathtaking Bengali Drummers.
The performance by these highly accomplished musicians will offer the audience an opportunity to experience both melodic (raga) and rhythmic (tala) development, and will feature traditional repertoire from Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) classical traditions, North Indian drumming on tabla in solo and duet, as well as excursions exploring the frontier between traditional and contemporary, folk, and classical genres.
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 in the early 1970s, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, and the Kodo drummers of Japan.
A child prodigy, Zakir was touring by the age of twelve. He came to the United States in 1970, embarking on an international career which now includes no fewer than 150 concert dates a year. He has composed and recorded many albums and soundtracks, and has received widespread recognition as a composer for his many ensembles and collaborations.
The Masters of Percussion include musicians of the first rank playing a range of indigenous instruments, including the sitar and sarangi (a North Indian stringed instrument played with a bow).
At UMass-Amherst, the Zakir Hussain Presents Masters of Percussion concert is co-presented by the Fine Arts Center Center Series and the Asian Arts & Culture Program. The appearance is sponsored by 93.9 FM The River. This concert is funded in part by the Arts Jobs program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.