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Sangeet Sartaj Vol 1 - Zakir Hussain (Ustad) (2009)

Ustad Zakir Hussain


About this album

Tabla Nawaz Zakir Hussain is the most celebrated classical percussionist of modern times. If ever there has been a percussionist to create a sensation through his art and stirred the imagination of a whole generation of music connoisseurs and music lovers alike, it is Zakir Hussain.

The illustrious son of the illustrious father, Zakir Hussain was born in Mumbai on March 9th, 1952. His father, the legendary tabla virtuoso Alla Rakha Khan belonged to the Punjab gharana. He initiated his son Zakir Hussain into the art of tabla playing when he was just seven. Alla Rakha gave the child prodigy Zakir rogorous training and taught him the intricacies of the art. At the age of eight he gave accompaniment to the sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan at a private gathering in Mumbai.

Later, Zakir Hussain received his taalim from the legendary tabla wizard Ahmed Jaan Thirakawa famous for the Ajrada baaj of tabla school and habibuddin Khan of Meerut. In fact his formative years were shaped in an artistically rich environment where he could receive day-to-day lessons from great masters like Khan, Ravishankar, Ali Akbar Khan and quite few others. It was Zakir Hussain's hard work and his inborn talent coupled with the taleem he received from his gurus that brought him success.

Zakir Hussain with his charismatic personality has an impressive stage presence. His style reveals his solid base of many traditional baaj (schools) of tabla and what he acquired from the masters of these styles. This is why his style is identified as Chokhat Baaj (main four styles in traditional tabla playing). While performing he does not restrict himself to the baaj of just one particular gharana. In fact his style reflects the versatility with which he blends in the gats, kayadas, padants and radically creative improvisation renderings, which make his performance so colorful.

In his solo performances, Zakir Hussain wizardly knows no boundaries when he takes an open-ended chhanda of complex rhythm, showing different layakaris. With his unparalleled capacity for improvisation and impeccable precision of timing, Zakir Hussain's solo performances become a rhythmic marvel to his audience. He is an artiste who adroitly fulfills all the aspects of the classical art, be it as a solo performer or as an accompanist to classical vocalists, dance-performers or other instrumentalists.

Next only to the teentala in popularity and usage, the ektala has 12 bets arranged in six bars of two beats each. Of these, two bars are khali and the rest are clapped. Zakir creates an enchanting web of pulsating rhythmic compositions in this tala-cycle where each sound called bol (or word) has a mnemonic and time value to it. The master spins breathtaking complex tihaai-s in this rendition.

Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for metaphor, the Rupaktala is an odd one by many counts. Firstly it has an odd number of seven beats in all, and then its first beat (the sam) is not clapped but indicated with the empty wave of a khali. Its three bars are divided 3+2+2. Zakir's nimble and rippling fingers spin out bols and compositions of astonishing variety and mnemonic range - throbbing with vivacity and imagination.

Dadra derives its name from the Sanskrit word for daadura. It is a highly common six - beat rhythmic cycle popular in all music's of the world for its simple, natural lilt that seems to leapfrog in two divided 123/123. In the hands of Zakir Hussain this short waltz rhythmic cycle is a riot of colors cast in sound. Spellbindingly lilting and gay.


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