Ustad Zakir Hussain: I can’t wait to hear “Waah, kya baat hai” from Indian admirers

The maestro says he is eager to interact with his admirers as he prepares for his first solo performance in India after three years.

The master of the tabla, Ustad Zakir Hussain, has resumed his performance schedule in India after nearly three years’ absence. The artist anticipates his first solo performance on December 11 in Thane (Maharashtra), his first solo performance following recent group performances in Delhi and Pune. “I haven’t performed in India for three years, so it’s appropriate that I begin again with a solo in Thane, the city where I had my first solo performance as a teen. I miss catching the admiring glances of the Indian fans and their encouraging “Waah, kya baat hai.” I can’t wait to hear these words again,” Hussain exclaims.

The 71-year-old claims that youngsters and people of all ages still enjoy Indian classical music, and he adds, “The development of digital music platforms has given more ways for music to reach audiences that value such music across geographies. Although young Indians are beginning to appreciate classical music, there is still a long way to go.
Hussain believes that the tabla’s progress as an instrument over time is what accounts for its widespread appeal. The tabla is one of the newest classical Indian instruments. It isn’t more than 250 years old. This has worked to the instrument’s benefit because the approach used on the tabla allows it to imitate any rhythm pattern in the world. The veteran believes that jazz is the most relatable genre of music among the western genres, which is why the tabla has found adopters throughout the world. Players like myself have been able to imprint the rhythms of many nations and genres onto the tabla, making it relevant for these times and hopefully the future.

“The younger generation in India is embracing jazz. I’ve always been a fan of the genre and have worked with numerous jazz musicians. Jazz and tabla beats always blend together flawlessly,” says Hussain.




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