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Zakir Hussain - Masters Of Percussion

Press Release

with special guests
Ustad Sultan Khan and Niladri Kumar

Thursday, May 18, 7:30pm, Berklee Performance Center

“Spectacular rhythmic fireworks…”  The New York Times

World Music presents Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Indian Percussion on Thursday, May 18, 7:30pm at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Tickets are $65 (golden circle), $50, $40 and $30. For tickets and information call World Music (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org.

In a dazzling display of Indian percussion, tabla superstar Zakir Hussain is joined by the finest percussionists from India’s classical and folk traditions. The ensemble includes special guests: the great sarangi (stringed instrument) maestro Ustad Sultan Khan, one of India’s finest young sitar virtuosos Niladri Kumar, Hussain’s brothers Fazal Qureshi on tabla and kanjira and Taufiq Qureshi on various percussion instruments, Bhavani Shankar on pakhawaj and dholak (folk drums), Rajasthani folk drummer Khete Khan on khartal and Manipuri Jagoi Marup, the acrobatic dancing drummers of Manipur.

Under the direction of percussion legend Zakir Hussain, the concert offers the audience an opportunity to experience both melodic (raga) and rhythmic (tala) development as well as witness the dazzling and athletic dancing drummers of Manipur. The tour includes the great sarangi maestro, Ustad Sultan Khan, whose performances and collaborations with Zakir Hussain have delighted both classical music and world music aficionados. The concert will feature the traditional repertoire of North Indian drumming on tabla in solo and duet, as well as excursions exploring the frontier between traditional and contemporary, between folk and classical.

Zakir Hussain, a classical tabla maestro of the first order, has made unprecedented strides in bringing his instrument to a global audience. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study. Widely appreciated as an international phenomenon, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have established him globally as one of India's most renowned cultural ambassadors. The favorite accompanist for most of the greatest classical musicians and dancers of India, including Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar and others, Hussain has also been an integral part of the world music movement with his prodigious, incomparable and historic collaborations. He has been a chief architect in the world music movement working with many jazz and rock musicians, such as John McLaughlin, the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison and many others. He has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the "Padma Bhushan," awarded in January 2002, "Padma Shri," the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship Award (the USA’s highest award for masters in the traditional arts), and a Grammy for his part as performer, composer and co-producer of Mickey Hart's Planet Drum. His album Saturday Night in Bombay with his band Remember Shakti was nominated for a World Music Grammy in 2002. Most recently, he received a special commission to compose for the Silk Road Project, which he performed live with cellist Yo-Yo Ma for the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Fazal Qureshi began his training early under the keen eye of his father and guru, Ustad Allarakha. With encouragement and inspiration from his elder brother Zakir Hussain, Fazal has developed a style distinguished by a fine sense of rhythm, versatility and eloquence. He has performed both as a soloist and as an accompanist in prestigious "Sangeet Sammelans" in India as well as major festivals abroad.

Taufiq Qureshi, Zakir Hussain’s youngest brother, is one of the most sought-after rhythm programmers and percussionists in the world of studio recordings today. His guru and primary inspiration remains his father. However, while learning the rudiments of the tabla from his illustrious father, Ustad Allarakha, he was drawn from a very young age to the wider world of percussion as he watched and listened to his brother’s fusion experiments with Shakti, Diga and The Rhythm Experience. He has performed as a percussionist with a host of international luminaries including Zakir Hussain, Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac, Sivamani, Louis Banks, Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt, T.H. Vinayakram, Ranjit Barot and others. He has participated in international jazz festivals, and regularly composes music for films, TV serials, and theater pieces.

Bhavani Shankar is one of India’s leading pakhawaj players. He has toured extensively with Zakir Hussain and with leading maestros of Indian classical music. A versatile percussionist, he is proficient on a host of other drums, including the dholak. From a family of kathaks, he is versed in the ancient slokas (poetical compositions) and rhythmic compositions of these storytellers.

Manipuri Jagoi Marup is one of India’s premier performance troupes, combining dance, drumming and martial arts in their repertoire. Known for their dynamic athleticism and proficiency as well as their unique-sounding drums, they are a visual feast, dazzling their audiences with their acrobatic choreography. Dedicated to the rejuvenation of traditional folk and classical Manipuri dance styles, they were established in 1963 by the late Guru Padmashri Amubi Singh, have performed thousands of concerts in India and have enjoyed many successful international tours.


Ustad Sultan Khan is one of the foremost sarangi players of India, renowned for his extraordinary technical and melodic control over this difficult stringed instrument. The instrument most like the human voice, the sarangi is an exquisitely sonorous bowing instrument. The classical music audience has recently enjoyed its ascendance to solo performance status through the efforts of artists like Ustad Sultan Khan, whose solo performance is widely in demand all over the world. Sultan Khansahib began his initial training with his father Ustad Ghulab Khan, and, by the age of eleven, gave his first solo performance at the All-India Musical Conference. In 1974, he joined Beatle George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar's "Dark Horse" tour. Since then, he has been taking his music to concert halls around the globe, has recorded widely and has gained increasing popularity among classical and world music audiences.  He has a longstanding creative relationship with Zakir Hussain, performing, touring, recording and composing together for more than twenty years.

Niladri Kumar, son and disciple of celebrated sitarist Pandit Kartick Kumar, is one of India’s finest young sitar virtuosos, already recognized for his dazzling technical prowess and the maturity of his melodic acumen. A rare instrumentalist equally at home playing traditional classical or contemporary world music, he has proven to be one of the brightest talents of his generation, regarded with high esteem by his peers and promising to extend the musical horizon.

High resolution digital photos can be downloaded at www.WorldMusic.org/MediaCenter.html

World Music is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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