Zakir Hussein

born on 9/3/1950 in Bombay, India

Zakir Hussain (musician)

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Zakir Hussain (musician)

Zakir Hussain (Hindi: , Urdu: ), (born 9 March 1951), is an Indian tabla player, musical producer, film actor and composer.

He was awarded Padma Shri in 1988, and Padma Bhushan in 2002, by Government of India. He has also been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1990, given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama. In 1999, he was awarded United States National Endowment for the Arts's National Heritage Fellowship, the highest award given to traditional artists and musicians.

Early life and education

Hussain was born in Mumbai, India to the legendary tabla player Alla Rakha.[1] He attended St. Michael's High School in Mahim, and graduated from St. Xavier's, Mumbai.[2]

Hussain was a child prodigy, and was touring by the age of eleven. He went to the United States in 1970, beginning his international career which includes more than 150 concert dates a year.[3]


Hussain is a founding member of Bill Laswell's 'World Music Supergroup' Tabla Beat Science.[4]

The first Planet Drum album, released in 1991 on the Rykodisc label, went on to earn the 1992 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album, the first Grammy ever awarded in this category.[5][6] The Global Drum Project album and tour brought Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo together again in a reunion sparked by the 15th anniversary of the ground-breaking album Planet Drum. The album Global Drum Project won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album at the 51st Grammy Awards Ceremony held on 8 February 2009.[7]

He composed, performed and acted as Indian music advisor for the Malayalam film Vanaprastham,[8] a 1999 Cannes Film Festival entry which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI Fest) in 1999, and won awards at 2000 Istanbul International Film Festival (Turkey), 2000 Mumbai International Film Festival (India), and 2000 National Film Awards (India). He has composed soundtracks for several movies, most notably In Custody and The Mystic Masseur by Ismail Merchant, and has played tabla on the soundtracks of Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now, Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha, and other films.[9]

He starred in several films specifically showcasing his musical performance both solo and with different bands, including the 1998 documentary "Zakir and His Friends",[10] and the documentary "The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum" (2003 Sumantra Ghosal).[11] Hussain co-starred as Inder Lal in the Merchant Ivory Film Heat and Dust in 1983, for which he was an associate music director.[12][13]

Personal life

Zakir Hussain married Antonia Minnecola, a Kathak dancer and teacher, who is also his manager.[14] They have two daughters, Anisa Qureshi and Isabella Qureshi. Anisa graduated from UCLA and is trying her hand in video production and film making. Isabella is studying dance in Manhattan.[15]

He was named an Old Dominion Fellow by the Humanities Council at Princeton University, where he resided for the 2005-2006 semester as full professor in the music department.[16] He was also a visiting professor at Stanford University.[17] He now resides in San Francisco.


  • Mysterium Tremendum (2012) Mickey Hart Band
  • The Melody of Rhythm (2009) Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer
  • Global Drum Project (2007) Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Imran Hussain, Chandan Sharma Sikiru Adepoju, Giovanni Hidalgo Shout Factory
  • Soukha V. Selvaganesh (with John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Vikku, Shrinivas) Naive
  • Sangam (2006) Jazz collaboration with bandleader Charles Lloyd.
  • Punjabi Dhamar (2004)
  • Raag Chandrakauns (2004)
  • Live at 38th Montreux Jazz Festival (18 July 2004) Remember Shakti
  • Live at Miles Davis Hall (8 July 2004) Remember Shakti
  • Energy (2003)
  • The Best of Mickey Hart: Over the Edge and Back (2002) Mickey Hart
  • Selects (2002)
  • Live in San Francisco at Stern Grove (2002) Tabla Beat Science
  • Summit (2002) George Brooks (Earth Brothers Music BMI)
  • Golden Strings of the Sarode (2001) Aashish Khan & Zakir Hussain
  • Saturday Night in Bombay (2001) Remember Shakti (Universal Records)
  • Tala Matrix (2000) Tabla Beat Science
  • The Believer (2000) Remember Shakti
  • Remember Shakti (1999) Remember Shakti
  • Save Our Children (1999) - Pharoah Sanders
  • Spirit into Sound (1999) Mickey Hart
  • And the Rhythm Experience (1998)
  • Fire Dance (1998) collaboration with Pat Martino
  • Night Spinner (1998) George Brooks (Moment Records)
  • Supralingua (1998) Mickey Hart
  • Essence of Rhythm (1998)
  • Magical Moments of Rhythm (1997)
  • Kirwani (1997)
  • The Elements Space (1996)
  • Mickey Hart's Mystery Box (1996) Mickey Hart
  • Maestro's Choice Series Two (1995) Sultan Khan & Zakir Hussain
  • World Network Series, Vol. 1: India- Raga Purya Kalyan (1995) Zakir Hussain & Shivkumar Sharma
  • Raga Aberi (1995) Shankar
  • Golden Krithis Colours (1994) Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan
  • Jog And Rageshri (1994)
  • Ustad Amjad Ali Khan & Zakir Hussain (1994) Amjad Ali Khan & Zakir Hussain
  • Concert for Peace (1993) Ravi Shankar
  • Music of the Deserts (1993)
  • Rag Madhuvanti / Rag Misra Tilang (1993) Shivkumar Sharma
  • Flights of Improvisation (1992)
  • The One and Only (1992)
  • Sangeet Sartaj (1992)
  • Zakir Hussain and the Rhythm Experience (1992)
  • Maestro's Choice Series One (1991) Alla Rakha
  • Planet Drum (1991) Mickey Hart
  • When Words Disappear (1991) David Trasoff & Zakir Hussain
  • When Words Disappear (1991) David Trasoff & Zakir Hussain
  • At the Edge (1990) Mickey Hart
  • Venu (1989) Hariprasad Chaurasia & Zakir Hussain
  • Tabla Duet (1988) Zakir Hussain & Alla Rakha
  • Making Music (1987) with Jan Garbarek, John McLaughlin and Hariprasad Chaurasia
  • Song for Everyone (1985) L. Shankar
  • Who's to Know (1980) L. Shankar
  • Morning Ragas (1979) with Vasant Rai
  • Natural Elements (1977) Shakti with John McLaughlin
  • A Handful of Beauty (1976) Shakti with John McLaughlin
  • Diga (1976) Diga Rhythm Band
  • Shakti (1975) Shakti with John McLaughlin
  • Rolling Thunder (1972) Mickey Hart
  • Shanti (1971)
  • Evening Ragas (1970) Vasant Rai
  • Ustad Mohammad Omar: Virtuoso from Afghanistan (2002)- Zakir Hussain


  • The Rhythm Devils Concert Experience (2008 DVD) The Rhythm Devils
  • The Way of Beauty (2006 DVD) Remember Shakti
  • The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum (2003) Sumantra Ghosal
  • Talamanam Sound Clash Further Adventures in Hype (2003 DVD) Tabla Beat Science
  • Zakir and His Friends (1998)
  • Heat and Dust (1983) Merchant Ivory Film
  • Miss Beatty's Children (1992)
  • Saaz (1998)


  • One Dollar Curry (2003)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002)
  • The Mystic Masseur (2001)
  • Vanaprastham (1999)
  • Little Buddha (1993)
  • In Custody (1993)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Saaz

Awards and accolades

  • Awarded the titles of Padma Shri in 1988, and Padma Bhushan in 2002,[18][19] becoming the youngest percussionist to be awarded these titles, given to civilians of merit by the Indian government.
  • Awarded the Indo-American Award in 1990 in recognition for his outstanding cultural contribution to relations between the United States and India.
  • Presented with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1990 by the President of India, making him one of the youngest musicians to receive this recognition given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.[20]
  • In 1992 Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Hussain and Mickey Hart, was awarded the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album, the Downbeat Critics Poll for Best World Beat Album and the NARM Indie Best Seller Award for a World Music Recording.
  • Recipient of the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship of National Endowment for the Arts, the United States most prestigious honour for a master in the traditional arts, presented by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United States Senate on 28 September 1999.[21]
  • In 2005, he was named an Old Dominion Fellow by the Humanities Council at Princeton University, where he resided for the 2005-2006 semester as full professor in the music department, teaching a survey course in Indian classical music and dance.
  • Recipient of the prestigious Kalidas Samman in 2006, an award for artists of exceptional achievement, from the government of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Golden Strings of the Sarode (Moment! Records 2006) with Aashish Khan and Zakir Hussain was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional World Music Album category in 2006.
  • In 2007, readers polls from both Modern Drummer and Drum! magazines named Zakir Hussain Best World Music and Best World Beat Drummer respectively.
  • On 8 February 2009 for 51st Grammy Awards, Zakir Hussain won the Grammy in the Contemporary World Music Album category for his collaborative album "Global Drum Project" along with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo.>[2]
  • On 23 February 2012 for GURU GANGADHAR PRADHAN Lifetime Achievement Award at Konark Dance & Music Festival, Organised by Konark Natya Mandap


  • Masters of Percussion: An Interview with Zakir Hussain with Douglas Heselgrave (The Music Box, Friday 12 September 2008)


  2. [1]
  3. Zakir Hussain Moment! Records. Retrieved on 5 February 2010.
  4. National Geographic Website
  5. Planet Drum Music Website
  6. AfroBeat Radio Website
  7. Express India Website
  8. Internet Movie Database
  9. IMDB: Zakir Hussain
  10. New York Times Website
  11. New York Times Website
  12. Merchant Ivory website: listing for Heat and Dust
  13. Internet Movie DataBase listing for Heat and Dust
  14. Little India Website
  15. Ustad Zakir Hussain - Ustad Zakir Hussain Biography, Life History of Zakhir Hussein. (1951-03-09). Retrieved on 2012-12-31.
  16. Red Carpet Website
  17. Carnegie Hall Website
  18. Padma Awards Directory (1954-2009). Ministry of Home Affairs.
  19. Padma Vibhushan for Rangarajan, Soli Sorabjee, The Hindu, 26 January 2002. URL accessed on 26 January 2002.
  20. SNA: List of Akademi Awardees. Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website.
  21. List of all National Heritage Fellowship winners. National Endowment for the Arts website.

External links

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This page was last modified 29.04.2014 12:22:44

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