TABLA MAESTRO Zakir Hussain today claimed to differ from musical predecessors only in (life) style not substance.
‘‘I approach music with the same reverence and humility as past masters, the only difference is that I’m long-haired, jeans clad and foreign traveled,” Hussain told mediapersons on the sidelines of a musical soiree organised by Sanand Nyas at Abhay Prashal on Thursday evening.
“We make poor cars, suits, jeans. Our culture, classical music, Yoga and meditation is the only thing we can be proud of as Indians,” said Hussain when asked what he felt was the nation’s USP on the eve of Republic Day.
Initially annoyed at finding TV cameras lined up right in front of the stage the tabla player, however, soon regained his composure and chatted amiably with scribes for nearly 30 minutes.
He, however, slammed the organisers for their choice of venue declaring that bad acoustics at Abhay Prashal would dilute the audience’s enjoyment. “There’s a lot of echo and reverb,” declared Hussain who raised similar objections during his last performance here around four years ago.
During the freewheeling chat, the curly-haired musician declared that he was ‘still learning’ his craft nearly 40 years after he began. “I’m still working on getting the teen taal right and there are 359 more to go. Maybe what the Buddha said about Nirvana holds true for tabla playing too, one needs 40,000 rebirths to master the instrument,” mused Hussain clad in an off-white kurta pyjama.
“I carry India with me on my trips abroad,” declared the musician in response to a query about his becoming westernised as a result of extended trips abroad.
Glowing with a freshness that couldn’t be the result of the right brand of tea - Brooke Bond recently replaced him with actor Saif Ali Khan as brand ambassador for Taj Mahal - was of the view that upcoming musicians needed to be looked at with a patient eye.
“Today there are scores of books, interactive CDs and other instruction media that enable youngsters to gain a lot of knowledge. With the passage of time they will also learn about the ‘soul’ of the music,” affirmed Zakir Hussain who himself began performing as a child prodigy at age 8.
“Maybe not in Indore but it’s happening in Delhi and elsewhere,” he quipped when queried about the reason for the decline of ‘world music’ genre that led to collaborations between (Pearl Jam frontman) Eddie Vedder and Peter Gabriel’s collaboration with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Hussain’s gigs with John Mclaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.