Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion to Perform at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York

Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain


Zakir Hussain, the legendary percussionist whose intoxicating rhythms have accompanied India’s major artists and leading names in world music, returns to New York on March 12 & 13 of 2010 with his Masters of Percussion ensemble. He is joined by Taufiq Qureshi (percussion), the superb violin duo of Ganesh & Kumaresh, sarangi (lute) player Sabir Khan, Sridar Parthsarathy (mrdangam – double-headed barrel drum), Navin Sharma (dholak – two-headed folk drum), and the Motilal Dhakis from Bengal (dancing drummers).

Zakir Hussain, tabla maestro, is one of India’s most renowned cultural ambassadors and the favorite accompanist for most of the greatest musicians and dancers of India. He has also been a chief architect of the world music movement with his prodigious collaborations, including Shakti (which he founded with John McLauglin and L. Shankar), Planet Drum (with Mickey Hart), and Sangam (with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland).

The foremost disciple of his father Ustad Allarakha, Zakir was a child prodigy who began his professional career at the age of 12. He came to the US in 1970, embarking on an international career that has included no fewer than 150 concert dates a year. He has recorded many albums and soundtracks, and received widespread recognition as a composer. He wrote soundtracks for Ismail Merchant’s In Custody and The Mystic Masseur Bertolucci’s Little Buddha, Vanaprastham (The Last Dance), Saaz, and Everybody Says I’m Fine. He was commissioned to write music for Mark Morris’ Kolam (which premiered in Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project), Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, and the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta.

In 2007, Zakir was chosen by the government of India to compose an anthem, “Jai Hind,” to celebrate India’s 60th year of independence. Zakir has been the recipient of many awards and titles, including Padma Bhushan (2002); Padma Shri (1988); the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991); the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, this country’s highest honor for achievement in the traditional arts; and Grammy Awards for Best World Music Album for Planet Drum (1992) and Global Drum Project (2009) with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo. In 2007, readers’ polls from both Modern Drummer and Drum! magazines named him Best World Music and Best World Beat Drummer respectively.

Ganesh & Kumaresh are highly respected as soloists, as well as accompanists to leading vocalists. Born into a musical family, the brothers received training under their father Sri Rajagopalan and made their entrance into the world of Carnatic music in 1972, at the ages of seven and five respectively. By the time Kumaresh was 10, they had made one hundred stage appearances. They were recognized by the government of Tamil Nadu as State Artists in 1983, and became the youngest violinists to be recognized by All India Radio as top ranking artists.


They have toured extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia, and, in 2004, performed throughout the US as special guests in Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion tour. They have also worked in the world music realm with Vikku Vinayakaram, Sivamani, Ranjit Barot, George Brooks, Steve Thornton, Nadaka, and Randy Bersen, and composed many works. For their musical accomplishments they have received such prestigious titles as Kalaimamani, Sunaadha Sironmani and Sangeetha Saragnya.

Taufiq Qureshi, son and disciple of tabla maestro Ustad Allarakha, is an acclaimed composer and commanding percussionist. His trademark style incorporates body and vocal percussion to create distinctive rhythmic motifs spanning across cultures. His albums have been released internationally and he has performed at major music festivals throughout the world. He has been greatly influenced by his brother Zakir Hussain and has been privileged to receive guidance from Ghatam Vidhwan Pandit “Vikku” Vinayakram. While the realm of studio music keeps him constantly engaged creatively, Taufiq is continuously evolving as a percussionist in live performance.

Sabir Khan, born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, belongs to the Sikar gharana (school) of music that has introduced several stalwarts to Indian classical music. He is the ninth generation in his family to take up the sarangi and is considered to be one of the beacons of the younger generation. He began studying music when he was six years old with his grandfather, Ustad Gulab Khan, a great sarangi player and vocalist. Soon afterwards, he began training with his father, the renowned sarangi player – vocalist Ustad Sultan Khan, and his late uncle Ustad Nasir Khan. With a technique displaying tonal, melodic and rhythmic prowess, he is proving a worthy successor to his proud lineage.

Sridar Parthasarathy has studied the mrdangam since the age of six as a disciple of Vidwan Shri. Karaikudi R. Chandramouli. During his career, he has accompanied leading Carnatic musicians such as Smt. D. K. Pattammal, Shri. Madurai G. S. Mani, Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna and Shri Ranganatha Sharma, and has taken part in jugalbandhis (duets) with such illustrious musicians as Shankar Mahadevan, Rattan Mohan Sharma, Sanjeev Abhyankar and Nandkishor Muley. He regularly performs with rhythm ensembles headed by Ghatam Vidwan Shri. T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakaram, Louiz Banks, Ranjit Barot, Fazal Qureshi, Taufiq Qureshi and Niladri Kumar, and recorded and performed for the Miles From India album produced by Bob Beldon in 2008.

Navin Sharma, born in the Ulhasnagar district of Maharashtra in 1975 to a musical family, started studying the dholak at a young age. His first guru was his father Shyam Rughuram Sharma; through these studies he was introduced to local musicians who were actively composing scores for Bollywood films. After realizing his desire to study more Indian classical music, his father insisted he learn from tabla maestro Ustad Allarakha, with whom he studied for several years. Navin has performed with many diverse artists over his career, working with jazz, fusion, pop, rock, ghazal and bhajan ensembles.

The Motilal Dhakis from Bengal, from the eastern part of the state of Bengal, are the keepers of a folk tradition which highlights a very active style of drumming that incorporates dance movements. The drummers play the rhythms used in weddings and festival processions, while demonstrating the shapes of the rhythm patterns through dance.

This program is made possible in part with public support provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding is provided by the Howard Bayne Fund.


Recordings available: Planet Drum, Global Drum Project, Essence of Rhythm, Best of Zakir Hussain, Raga Lalit / Raga Bairagi Bhairav, Golden String Of The Sarod, First LP Record, Mesmerizing Maestros, Live, Vol. 1, Sound scapes-music of the desert, Magical Moments of Rhythm


Friday, March 12, 2010 8:00 PM
Saturday, March 13, 2010 8:00 PM
Rose Theater in Frederick P. Rose Hall
Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Broadway at 60th Street, NYC
Tickets $40, $55, $70; students $18
CenterCharge (212) 721-6500
Info/tickets (212) 545-7536
For video, visit:


Photo: Susana Millman

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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