Early Life of Ustad Zakir Hussain
Ustad Zakir Hussain son of tablaplayer Ustad Alla Rakha, leading tabla artist of his time, was born on 9th March 1951. Zakir started his musical tours at the age of twelve. He did his schooling in St. Michael's High School in Mahim. He completed his graduation from St Xaviers, Mumbai. He has one late sister, Razia, and two younger brothers, Fazal Qureshi and youngest Taufiq Qureshi. He also has another sister named Khursheed who is married and is now settled in London.
Personal Life of Ustad Zakir Hussain
Zakir is married to noted Kathak Dancer and student of Sitara Devi, Antonia Minnecola, who is an Italian American. Minnecola had earlier worked as Hussain's manager. His two daughters, Anisa Qureshi and Isabella Qureshi, are also studying in the field of arts. Anisa graduated from UCLA and is in filmmaking and video production. His second daughter Isabella is studying in Manhattan as a dance major.
Musical Life of Ustad Zakir Hussain
Zakir came to the United States in 1970 as child prodigy, embarking on an international career, which included no fewer than 150 concert dates a year. He has composed and recorded many albums and soundtracks, and has received widespread recognition as a composer for his many ensembles and historic collaborations.
Zakir has worked with many western and Indian artists, and has produced many works for fusion, perhaps most notably with The Beatles. In 1971 he recorded with an American psychedelic band called Shanti.
Zakir Hussain with many historic collaborations including 'Shakti', which he founded with John McLaughlin in 1975 and L. Shankar the 'Diga Rhythm Band', 'Making Music', 'Planet Drum' with Mickey Hart on his 'Rolling Thunder' album (on which he and his father played a tabla duet), and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony contributed the world of music with his uniqueness. Although Shakti was disbanded a few years later, it reunited under the name 'Remember Shakti'.
In 1992, Zakir founded Moment. Records which features original collaborations in the field of contemporary world music, as well as live concert performances by great masters of the classical music of India. The label presents Zakir's own world percussion ensemble, The Rhythm Experience, both North and South Indian classical recordings, Best of 'Shakti', and a Masters of Percussion series.
He has recorded and performed with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar, Aashish Khan, Vasant Rai, Imrat Khan, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Charles Lloyd, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony. Zakir received the distinct honor of co-composing the opening music for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, 1996, and was commissioned to compose music for San Francisco's premiere contemporary ballet company, Lines, and to compose an original work for the San Francisco Jazz Festival, both in 1998.
Zakir is a founding member of Bill Laswell's 'World Music Super group "Tabla Beat Science". He was a visiting professor at Princeton University for one semester in 2006, as well as a visiting professor at Stanford University for a quarter in 2007. Zakir starred in the excellent documentary "The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum" (2003 Sumantra Ghosal) and the 1998 documentary "Zakir and His Friends". Zakir participates in the Silk Road collaborative musical project.
Awards and Recognition Received by Ustad Zakir Hussain
* Awarded the titles of Padma Shri in 1988, and Padma Bhushanin 2002, becoming the youngest percussionist to be awarded these titles.
* Awarded the Indo-American Award in 1990 in recognition for his outstanding cultural contribution to relations between the United States and India.
* Presented with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1991 by the President of India, making him one of the youngest musicians to receive this recognition from India's governing cultural institute.
* In 1992 Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Hussain and Mickey Hart, was awarded the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album, the Downbeat Critics' Poll for Best World Beat Album and the NARM India Best Seller Award for a World Music Recording.
* Recipient of the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, the United States' most prestigious honour for a master in the traditional arts, presented by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United States Senate on September 28, 1999.
* In 2005, he was named an Old Dominion Fellow by the Humanities Council at Princeton University, where he resided for the 2005-2006 semester as full professor in the music department, teaching a survey course in Indian classical music and dance.
* Recipient of the prestigious Kalidas Samman in 2006, an award for artists of exceptional achievement, from the government of Madhya Pradesh.
* Golden Strings of the Sarode (Moment! Records 2006) with Aashish Khan and Zakir Hussain was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional World Music Album category in 2006.
* In 2007, readers' polls from both Modern Drummer and Drum! Magazine named Zakir Hussain Best World Music and Best World Beat Drummer respectively.
* On 8 February 2009 for 51st Grammy Awards, Zakir Hussain won the Grammy in the Contemporary World Music Album category for his collaborative album "Global Drum Project" along with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo.
Life in Films for Ustad Zakir Hussain
Apart from his musical career which in itself has achieved every possible heights, Zakir Hussian has also contributed in the field of cinema. Some of the feature films and documentary where he features on screen are as follows;
* The Rhythm Devils Concert Experience (2008 - DVD) - The Rhythm Devils
* The Way of Beauty (2006 - DVD) - Remember Shakti
* The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum (2003) Sumantra Ghosal)
* Talamanam Sound Clash - Further Adventures in Hype (2003 - DVD) - Tabla Beat Science
* Zakir and His Friends (1998)
* Heat and Dust (1983) Merchant Ivory Film
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