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The famous five perform again

Hussain performs with four other maestros in the city at the fourth edition of Heartbeats, an annual music affair featuring Carnatic and Hindustani music.

music Updated: Dec 05, 2010 15:03 IST
Megha Mahindru
Megha Mahindru
Hindustan Times

Grammy award-winning musician Zakir Hussain hopes to be seen more often on the Mumbai music scene this year. The


maestro is currently in the city, busy planning his daughter’s reception. “My daughter recently got married and I’m planning their party here. It’s a lot of work,” says the celebrated composer, who finds juggling gigs at Mumbai-New York-London a lot easier than playing wedding planner.

Tonight, Hussain will perform at the fourth edition of Heartbeats, an annual music affair featuring Carnatic and Hindustani music vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, mandolin player U Srinivas,


player Selvaganesh and percussionist Sivamani.

Ask him about his brainchild, Heartbeats, and Hussain amusingly replies, “I’ve heard one glass of red wine does wonders for it.” Kick-started in 2007, the Ustad feels that the multi-artiste concert is a cultural exchange of sorts. “We all represent different traditions of music, yet our music comes together. It’s like different heartbeats, pulsating as one,” explains Hussain, between sound checks, hours before his concert in Pune.

About his holy quintet, the musician replies, “We are five people but one rhythmic unit. We share thoughts and our movements and rhythms are copasetic to each



One of the precursors of world music, Hussain isn’t too pleased with the fusion tag that the event has garnered over the years. “Fusion and Sufi music are two labels that are much abused. For us, it’s just about creating music. But for promoters, fusion is a term that used to conjure an image in the minds of the audiences,” says Hussain about this confluence of sorts. “It’s used for lack of better word.”

The five virtuosos are thrilled about their yearly collaboration, which will feature solo pieces as well as


. “As musicians, we are always learning. So every year when we get together, we bring something new to the table, by sharing the experiences gained,” he says. Multi-instrumentalist Sivamani nods in affirmation.

“No two concerts of ours can be alike. It’s like magic,” says the spectacle-maker, who can make music with anything he lays his hands on.

In its fourth year, the concert venues have trimmed down to accommodate just three cities — Pune, Goa and Mumbai. “We all have other projects going on simultaneously and to get same dates for the four concerts in three cities was a feat in itself,” says Hussain, who is busy writing a symphony orchestra for the Kennedy Centre, which will combine Christian hymns, Hindu devotional songs and Sufi music.

Apart from three-city tour, Hussain will also be seen in the city performing with Trilok Gurtu early next year. “I haven’t performed with Trilok for a long time so I’m looking forward to this collaboration.” For his eager audience in the city, Hussain says, “Keep an open heart, open mind and open ear. And prepare for a wondrous ride.”

First Published: Dec 05, 2010 14:36 IST