Since his arrival in the city, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain hasn’t taken a break. Performing back-to-back concerts, the celebrated musician has little to complain about. “Music is a bunch of people having a conversation, after all. How can that ever get tiresome? The good part is that I play with different artistes, so the conversation is never the same,” says the 60-year-old. The only unsettling occurrence, Hussain confesses, is “Team India’s performance. Like most Indians, I love the sport and their recent results have been dismal.”
The musician is currently looking forward to performing at the 12th edition of the Barsi concerts, which celebrates the legacy of his father and veteran musician, Ustad Allarakha. “Barsi is a gathering of like-minded musicians who just want to hang out and play,” says Hussain.
Besides the usual suspects such as mandolin player U Srinivas, brothers Taufiq and Fazal, and young zitar player Niladri Kumar, one of the highlights this year includes a performance by drummer Simon Phillips, famous for hits like Africa… and Rosanna… that he belted with his band Toto. “Simon is a great musician. The best part is that he appeals to a variety of audiences, since he has tried his hand at everything from pop and rock to jazz and RnB,” adds Hussain.
The concert will also feature a tribute to the late Ustad Sultan Khan. Despite many doyens of music such as Bhupen Hazarika, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Jagjit Singh passing away in 2011, Hussain is not one to mourn the loss. “It’s sad to lose such talents, but their legacy continues. I’m carrying forward my father’s, the new generation of musicians like Anoushka Sharma and Ayaan-Amaan (Ali Bangash) will ensure that Indian classical music is in good company,” he says.
Other treats for music lovers at the concert include a nagada solo, a thavil performance by south’s stalwart Vallayapatti, and a song and dance performance by Chendai Group that comprises 12 drummers from Kerala.
The Allarakha Barsi concert will take place on February 3 at Shanmukhananda Hall.