On Friday, January 10, 2014
The tradition of Indian percussion has been revolutionalized by tabla player Zakir Hussain. The son of Ustad Allah Rakha, the long time collaborator of Ravi Shankar, Hussain has inherited his father's quest for bringing the music of India to the international stage. His recording credits include albums with George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Saunders, Billy Cobham, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony. His work with Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead have included performances and albums with the Diga Rhythm Band and Planet Drum. Hussain joined with British guitarist John McLaughlin and Indian violinist L. Shankar to form the east-meets-west supergroup, Shakti, in 1975. Although the group disbanded in 1978, they reunited to tour as Remember Shakti in 1998. Hussain has been equally successful as a bandleader. During the 1980s, he toured with Zakir Hussain's Rhythm Experience. His debut solo album, Making Music, released in 1987, was called "one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever recorded". In 1992, Hussain launched a record label, Monument Records, that focused on Indian music. A lengthy list of awards have been bestowed upon Hussain throughout his career. In 1988, he became the youngest percussionist to be awarded the title "Padma Shri" by the Indian government. Two years later, he recieved the Indo-Ameican award in tribute to his contributions to furthering relations between the United States and India. Planet Drum, an album co-produced with Hart in 1992, received a Grammy for "best world music album", a NARM Indie Best Seller award and won the Downbeat Critics Poll for "Best world music album". Still a youngster when he began to attract attention with his virtuosic playing, Hussain began his musical career at the age of seven and was touring by the age of twelve. In 1970, he made his American debut as accompanist for Ravi Shankar. Three years later, he became the leader of the Tal Vadya Rhythm Band. The group subsequently evolved into the Diga Rhythm Band. In 1976, the band collaborated on a self-titled album with Mickey Hart. Hussain has performed on the soundtracks of numerous films including Apocalypse Now!, In Custody and Little Buddha. At the 1983 Cannes Film Festival, he was nominated for an award as composer and music director of the film, Heat And Dust. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
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