I had the greatest pleasure of listening to one of the most brilliant tabla maestros of contemporary times – Ustad Zakir Hussain. A sheer genius of classical tabla, his performance on the night of 16th was no exception to his extensive repertoire. The beautiful Hyderabad International Convention Center set stage for the grand evening.
I grabbed this opportunity to deck up in the finery of my Indian attire, a contrast to my usual jeans-Tshirt routine.
The evening opened on the robust notes of Taufiq Qureshi, an ace percussionist and younger brother of Ustad Zakir Hussain. Sabir Khan’s melodious compositions on the sarangi came as a beautiful and serene contrast to Qureshi’s head-banging vigor on the drum-set. Khan’s strings brought tranquility to the soul like the moist drops of rain bringing relief to the parched lips of the earth after a dust storm. Ustad Zakir Hussain joined in gently on the tablas and transitioned the evening to bolder beats. He flitted from one composition to another, his fingers sometimes delicate and whimsical, sometimes forceful and passionate.
The next segment of the evening belonged to Niladri Kumar on the sitar. Kumar’s remarkable dexterity of swift, agile fingers fluttered smoothly between Indian Classical Music compositions and World Music pieces, like Beethovan’s Für Elise to my delight. Kumar mesmerized the audience by deftly creating fusion compositions of western pieces intertwined with more traditional ones. For some odd reason, I was instantly reminded of George Harrison playing the sitar in the famed Beatles’ number “Norwegian Woods”.
I watched as if in a trance, as the evening progressed to the final segment where all four great musicians performed together. The four great weavers sat on the loom of music, weaving Indian, sometimes western melodies, a touch of percussion here, a pull of the strings there....the resultant cloth of fusion music was so colorful, so resplendent that it left me with a deep yearning for more, when the evening was finally brought to an end.
My heart resonated with the soulful music long after the show was over.......an evening to remember for a long long time.