Zakir Hussain (musician)

Zakir Hussain (* 9. March 1951 in Bombay, India) is considered as the most formed living Tabla - a player. Beside the Tabla plays Hussain also different Indian Perkussionsinstrumente such as Dhol, Kho, Duggi, Dholak and Nal.

Outside of India is it particularly for its co-operation with John McLaughlin's group of Shakti, the photographs with different Perkussion ensembles (e.g. Diga Rhythm Group, planet Drum, Rhythm Experience) and his co-operation with musicians such as George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah of Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mickey hard, tri locomotive Gurtu or Bill read-wave (material, Tabla Beat Science) admits.

The Indian music tradition, from which it comes, plays however still the most important role in its musical work. As he says, he plays classical Indian music to 80%. The fact that it is recognized as musicians in its homeland long shows up also in the fact that it an in demand Mitmusiker of masters such as Ravi Shankar (Sitar), Ali Akbar Khan (Sarod), Shiv Kumar Sharma (Santur) or the Kathak - dancer Birju Maharaj is.

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at the age of three years he already became pupil of its father, the Tabla Virtuosen Alla Rakha. At the age of 12 years it had its first public appearance together with him and soon of many as a miracle child was regarded. With 13 years it met George Harrison, which to India had come, in order with the Sitar - master Ravi Shankar to study. Hussains father was the Tablavirtuose, with which Shankar made its most appearances and Schallplattenaufnahmen. Thus Zakir Hussain came to its first impressions of kontemporärer western Popmusik. Harrison was in the consequence one of the first, young western musicians, which admits the listeners in America and Europe with the Indian music made, in a fusion, which would resume Hussain themselves in later decades.

1970 traveled Zakir to the Begleitgruppe Ravi Shankars for the first time to the USA and had its first appearance outside of India in the “Fillmore west “to San Francisco. Still in the same year it moved into the USA. 1973 it was initial member the valleys Vadya Rhythm volume, from which in the following years the Diga Rhythm volume developed, with which it 1976 to a first co-operation with Mickey hard already came.

it followed an invitation of the British guitarist John McLaughlin and together to 1975 with the northIndian Violinisten L. Shankar and the southIndian Ghatamspieler T.H.Vinayakaram created them, at a time, when there was for it still no term, the “group of fusions” of Shakti. This formation existed until 1977, took up three albums pointing the way, and played successful concert tours both in the west and in India. During the 1980er Hussain a set of concerts with Zakir Hussain's Rhythm Experience played years and was a guest musician with a multiplicity above all US-American Pop and jazz musician. To a first Reunion of Shakti it came 1984 for a tour into India.

1992 it created the disk label moment! Record. There beside world music albums Hussains - also its Perkussion ensemble Rhythm Experience - are published above all live photographs of concerts of masters of the classical north and southIndian music and the series Best OF Shakti and Masters OF Percussion.

From 1997 to 2000 McLaughlin and Hussain with a row changing Indian musician played, among other things Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute), in the group of Remember Shakti again together.

Since the late 1980ern works Hussain with the New Yorker bassists and producer Bill read-wave also again and again together. Beginning of the 2000er years created they the group of Tabla Beat Science, which created a further form of the east west fusion.


Hussains music is characterized through its, in study of many years acquired, knowledge around the classical Indian music, its outstanding technical Virtuosität and its talent for improvisation. Although its play verwurzelt deeply in the Indian tradition is, it applies today in consequence of its various Kollaborationen with western musicians as one the creator of the “fusion music”.

Its work can be einordenen within two large ranges:

  • On the one hand co-operation with western musicians from jazz, Pop and avant-garde, into which it brings the element „of the fusion music “.
  • On the other hand Hussain plays also again and again - and in sum more frequently than with western musicians - in India. A special merit/service comes to it thereby around the unification of masters of the north and of the southIndian musical traditions; a way, which had already begun with McLaughlins Shakti.

Hussain composed also music again and again to films. 1979 was already it at the film music to Francis Ford Coppolas Apocalypse Now! taken part. 1993 composed and played it the music for Ismail Merchants film in Custody and Bernardo Bertoluccis Little Buddha. In Little Buddha it also arose as a Vanaprastham, in the forests of living Eremit, which left material needs behind itself. 1996 it was one of the composers for the music for the opening olympic summer games of the 1996 in Atlanta.


a selection of publications with/of Zakir Hussain:

  • Shakti (Shakti, taken up 1975) - the debut album of the group arranged by McLaughlin.
  • Natural of element (Shakti, taken up 1976) - the second Shakti - album (without Ramnad V. Raghavan, Mridangam).
  • A Handful OF Beauty (Shakti, taken up 1977) - the last Studioaufnahme of Shakti in original occupation.
  • Making music (Z. Hussain, 1986) - which published first under its name album, ever of the taken up albums with east west fusion”, most inspired of critics as “one, designation.
  • Who's ton of Know (L Shankar, 1990) - a milestone of the Violinisten L. Shankar, that here with Z. Hussain the classical Indian music in its way revives.
  • Planet Drum (Z. Hussain with Mickey hard, 1992) - the several times price-crowned album, which connects Perkussiontraditionen from the whole world. Developed on initiative of the former Drummers of Greatful Death, Mickey hard.
  • Remember Shakti (Remember Shakti, 1997) - live photographs that, into partial of new occupation as Remember Shakti, again together playing group (John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, TO hands Vinayakram, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Uma Metha)
  • Tala matrix (Tabla Beat Science, 2000) - the first album of Bill read-wave initiated group.
  • Remember Shakti: The Believer (Remember Shakti, 2000) - live photographs of concerts played in Europe (John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, And. Shrinavas, V. Selvaganesh)
  • Remember Shakti: Saturday Night in Bombay (Remember Shakti, 2001) - live admission of the conclusion concert of the Remember Shakti - world tour, beside McLaughlin and Hussain are also a number of hochkarätiger musical guests made of India to hear


Zakir Hussain already received a multiplicity of different prices and honors, in the following some the most important:

  • Padma cried (1988) - the fourth-highest civilian honor, which is assigned by the Indian government for earnings/services around the country. Zakir Hussain was the youngest Perkussionist, which had ever received the honor.
  • Indo American Award (1990) - for its unusual achievements in the area of the cultural exchange between India and the USA.
  • Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1991) - an honor of the prominent institute for culture of the country lent by the president of India.
  • Grammy (category “World music”, 1992) - for the album planet Drum produced by Zakir Hussain and Mickey hard.
  • Best World Beat album (1992) - honor of the Downbeat - magazine, one of the prominent publications to jazz, likewise for planet Drum
  • NARM Indie Best Seller Award (category “World music Recording”, 1992) - honor that national Association OF Recording Merchandisers, again for planet Drum
  • national Heritage Fellowship (1999) - the prestigeträchtigste honor, which is assigned in the USA at masters of traditional arts.
  • Padma Bhushan (2002) - the third-highest civilian honor of India, in its case for its contribution to the Indian music.


  • hard, Mickey; Lieberman, Fredric; Sun fount, D.A.: Planet Drum: A Celebration OF Percussion and Rhythm. Acid test Productions, 1998. ISBN 1888358203.
  • Hard, Mickey; Stevens, Jay; Lieberman, Fredric: Drumming RK the Edge OF Magic: A Journey into the mirror-image-guessed/advised OF Percussion. Acid test Productions, 1998. ISBN 1888358181.

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