When one goes for a Zakir Hussain concert, expectations are always sky high. And Hussain never fails to deliver. The two-hour performance of the tabla maestro surprised and thrilled everyone present at Kala Mandir.
The beats reverberated to take one and all to a new high. A tabla solo by Ustad Zakir Hussain (accompanied by Ajay Joglekar on harmonium) was organised on the 75th birth anniversary of Pandit Sankha Chatterjee, another tabla stalwart, who have had the privilege of learning to play the musical instrument under the tutelage of Ustad Allah Rakha Khan, Ustad Karamatullah Khan and Maseet Khan. Pandit Sankha Chatterjee’s life is studded with innumerable performances. He was the first Indian to be invited to play at the Berlin-Kursuar in Germany and has uniquely synthesised three gharanas ~ Farukkabad, Delhi and Punjab.
Ustad Sabir Khan, Pandit Sankar Ghosh, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, Pandit Anindo Chattopadhyay, Mashkoor Ali Khan, Dr Pabitra Sarkar, PK Das and Haimanti Shukla were some of the people who were guests at the Kala Mandir concert. The first half of the programme saw the felicitation of Pandit Sankha Chatterjee and other musicians. The much awaited performance of Ustad Zakir Hussain was reserved for the second half. The mood was, however, set by Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty reciting shlokas in his silken voice. While, the comparer was introducing Hussain ~ reading the never-ending list of achievements ~ the audience, as usual, grew impatient enough to shout, “Arey bas korun, ebar shuru korun…” The curtains were finally raised. What followed was an exceptional musical sojourn.
The humble Grammy Award winner kept saying how little he knew and contradicted himself with a staggering performance, sweeping everyone off their feet. Apart from being a brilliant musician, Hussain is also an exception performer who kept simplifying taals for the listeners. Seeing Ustad Zakir Hussain, one wonders how passionately can a person be in love with music. It is said that the essence of a musical instrument is that it sings in a crescendo and fades in flurried whisper. Hussain’s tabla touched the a new high; however, the thunderous applause of the enthralled audience did not let it die into a whisper.
(The concert was presented by Indo Occidental Symbiosis in association with Nada Brahma Cultural Forum and Sankha Chatterjee School of Music)