Born: March 9, 1951
Achievement: Considered as the chief architect of the
contemporary world music movement; youngest percussionist to ever be
awarded the title of Padma Shri
Zakir Hussain is a classical tabla virtuoso and the most famous tabla
player in India today. His contribution in the field of percussion and
in the music world at large is highly appreciated.
Ustad Zakir Hussain was born on March 9, 1951. His father Ustad
Allarakha was himself an established tabla player. Zakir Hussain did his
schooling from St. Michael's High School in Mahim and completed his
graduation from St Xaviers, Mumbai. Zakir Hussain was a child prodigy
and started touring by the age of twelve. He came to the United States
in 1970 and started his international career.
Hussain is widely considered as the chief architect of the contemporary
world music movement. He founded much historic collaboration. These
include: Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar,
the Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, and
recordings and performances with a number of artists such as George
Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah
Sanders, Billy Cobham, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans
In 1987, Zakir Hussain's first solo release, "Making Music,"
was acclaimed as "one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums
ever recorded." In 1988, Zakir Hussain became the youngest
percussionist to ever be awarded the title of "Padma Shri" by
the Indian government. In 1990, he was awarded the Indo-American Award
in recognition for his outstanding cultural contribution to relations
between the United States and India. In April, 1991, Zakir Hussain was
presented with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the President of
India. Zakir Hussain is also the recipient of the 1999 National Heritage
Fellowship, the United States' most prestigious honor for a master in
the traditional arts.
Zakir Hussain has composed soundtracks for several movies, notable
among them are "In Custody" and "The Mystic Masseur"
by Ismail Merchant. Zakir Hussain has also played tabla on the
soundtracks of Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now", Bernardo
Bertolucci's "Little Buddha".