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Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion

About this Artist

Zakir Hussain, tablaFazal Qureshi, tabla/kanjiraRakesh Chaurasia, bansuri (bamboo flute)T.H.V. Umashankar, ghatam (clay pot)Sabir Khan, sarangiNavin Sharma, dholakAbbos Kosimov, doyraNingombam Joy Singh, dancing drummer of Manipurand special guestAntonia Minnecola, Kathak dancer

The preeminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, ZAKIR HUSSAIN delivers brilliant performances that have established him as a national treasure in his native India, and one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians, renowned for his genre-defying collaborations. MASTERS OF PERCUSSION, an outgrowth of Hussain’s memorable tours with his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, has enjoyed successful tours in the West since 1996. Joining the 2012 tour will be Fazal Qureshi, tabla & kanjira; Rakesh Chaurasia, bansuri (bamboo flute); T.H.V. Umashankar, ghatam; Sabir Khan, sarangi; Navin Sharma, dholak; Abbos Kosimov, doyra; and Ningombam Joy Singh, Meitei Pung Cholom performer (dancing drummer of Manipur). The tour will also feature special guest Antonia Minnecola (kathak dancer).

Zakir Hussain is today appreciated 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 not only established him as a national treasure in his own country, but have gained him worldwide fame. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study. The favorite accompanist for many of India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers, he has not let his genius rest there.

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, by the band of the same name that he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar; Remember Shakti; the Diga Rhythm Band; Making Music; Planet Drum with Mickey Hart; Tabla Beat Science; Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland; and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Rennie Harris, and Kodo. His 2009 recording with frequent collaborators and trio-mates Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer, The Melody of Rhythm, was nominated for a Grammy in 2010.

The foremost disciple of his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, Hussain was a child prodigy who began his professional career at the age of twelve and had toured internationally with great success by the age of eighteen. He has been the recipient of many awards, grants, and honors, including Padma Bhushan (2002), Padma Shri (1988), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991), Kalidas Samman (2006), the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship Award, the Bay Area Isadora Duncan Award (1998-1999), and Grammys in 1991 (Planet Drum) and 2009 (Global Drum Project) for Best World Music Album, both collaborations with Mickey Hart. His music and extraordinary contributions to the music world were honored in April 2009, with four widely heralded and sold-out concerts in Carnegie Hall’s Perspectives series. Also in 2009, Zakir was named a Member in the Order of Arts and Letters by France’s Ministry of Culture and Communication. Most recently, the National Symphony Orchestra, with Christoph Eschenbach, commissioned and premiered Zakir’s Concerto for Four Soloists at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, which was met with great acclaim.

Antonia Minnecola is one of few American artists recognized as a serious exponent of Kathak, the dynamic classical dance style of North India. As a choreographer, she employs Kathak to present contemporary works, often collaborating with artists of different genres, including musicians Zakir Hussain, Aashish Khan, Terry Riley, Mickey Hart, Taufiq Qureshi, singer Molly Holm, poet Michael McClure, and hip-hop artist Rennie Harris. Twice a recipient of the Marin Arts Council Individual Artist Grant for Choreography, Antonia is the disciple of Sitara Devi, widely considered the greatest female Kathak dancer of our time, with whom she has studied under the auspices of two Smithsonian Fellowships. Antonia has appeared in many tours and festivals, including the Bay Area’s Other Minds Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Asian-Pacific Performing Arts Festival, the Auckland Festival, and at Jacob’s Pillow. As a solo Kathak artist, she is often accompanied by her husband, tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, and has also appeared with his ensembles, Masters of Percussion and The Rhythm Experience. She has assisted Hussain in his guest professor tenures at Princeton University and Stanford University, in several of his Meet the Composer residencies and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Most recently, she has been teaching Kathak for Lines Ballet’s BFA Program in Dance at Dominican University.

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 classical music festivals in India and around the world. The remarkable ease with which Fazal accompanies veteran as well as young Indian classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and dancers of the North and South, as well as Western instrumentalists, speaks of the discipline and dedication with which this talented artist has pursued music. For the past sixteen years, he has performed with and composed for his world music band Mynta, based in Sweden. The group has six immensely popular and successful albums and tours regularly.

Rakesh Chaurasia, nephew of flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, is the most accomplished disciple of his uncle and promises to carry the Chaurasia legacy to new heights. Rakesh possesses the right balance of strength and serenity, critical factors for an exceptional flautist. Rakesh has already travelled the globe many times over, enthralling audiences at classical and semi-classical concerts in Japan, Australia, Europe, South Africa and the U.S. He is also an accomplished and versatile studio performer, having recorded with most of the leading stalwarts of the Indian film industry.

T.H.V. Umashankar is descended from a lineage of highly accomplished Carnatic (South Indian classical) percussionists. The grandson of Shri T.R. Hariharan Sharma and son of ghatam legend T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram, he has distinguished himself as an accompanist to the esteemed Carnatic musicians of our time, including M.S. Subbulakshmi, Balamurali Krishna, and U. Srinivas. He has also performed with great musicians in the Hindustani (North Indian classical) tradition, with Western jazz artists such as John McLaughlin and Jonas Hellborg, and as a regular session artist for Indian cinema music composers such as A.R. Rahman and Illayaraja.

Sabir Khan is an Indian sarangi player belonging to the Sikar Gharana (School) of Music – the same school that has produced some of the most respected, prodigious talents in Indian classical music. Sabir was exposed to music when he was six years old through his grandfather Ustad Gulab Khan. He is well known today for his delicate mastery of sarangi. His technique of playing is a rare combination of sur and laya (note and rhythm). Sabir has performed alongside great Indian artists such as Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Kumar Bose, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, gazal masters Ustad Gulam Ali and Talat Aziz, and legendary singer Asha Bhosle. Sabir most recently released an album with the great Lata Mangeshkar.

Navin Sharma was born in the Ulhasnagar district of Maharashtra in 1975 to a musical family and started studying the dholak at a very young age. His first guru was his father, Shyam Rughuram Sharma, and through these studies was introduced to other 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 master Ustad Allarakha, with whom he studied for several years. Navin has performed with many master musicians over his career, and with many ensembles, including jazz, fusion, pop, rock, ghazal, and bhajan.

Abbos Kosimov was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to a very musical family. He studied at the College of Culture and Music under doyra master Mamurjon Vahabov and graduated in 1988. In 1991, Abbos won second prize in Central Asia and Kazakhstan’s Competition of Percussion Instruments. A few years later, he established the “Abbos School,” where he taught the talented youth of his country to play the doyra (presently there are over 100 students in his school). In 2001, in honor of the 10th Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, Abbos was awarded a medal celebrating his status as an “Honored Artist of Uzbekistan.” In 2005, he moved to the United States and he has since recorded and/or performed with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Randy Gloss’ Hands OnSemble, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Zakir Hussain.

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

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