The legendary table maestro Zakir Hussain was in Chicago a couple of weekends ago. I managed to find the last few tickets. And what a concert it was..!! A very heart warming experience. It was a pleasure to watch him live, performing his magic with his fingers. His speed and comfort had the audience roaring. His animated descriptions of the musical notes (tha ki ta dhin dha) , comparing them to the traffic in India, had the audience in splits.
It was not just him though. The whole team consisted of about 7 individual performers, 5 on percussion, and 2 on stringed. There was even a 3 men team from Manipur, who performed a dance while playing thier percussion. It was amazing to see the guy perform the "roll" while playing on his drum. That definitely fascinated the audience.
I was amazed to see that about 50% of the packed auditorium was non-indian. But come to think of it, it comes as no surprise. Zakir is a proponent and founder of the World Music movement. He has worked toward uniting the eastern and western styles of music, and perfomed in conjunction with many a western music artists. He is even a visiting professor at a few prestigious institutes. So it really comes as no surprise that he is very popular the world over.
While everyone knows about his elan in playing the Tabla, what I found even more appreciable about the person was that he did not make the concert, HIS concert. He was only one among the 7 differnt musicians, playing his part in the group. Everyone had a part where they performed a solo. And when Zakir was playing he would always acknowledge the other persons playing, appreciate their talent, encourage them. Have to respect that.