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The Zakir Hussain File

June 2008
The Zakir Hussain File


4 Movies he has acted in

12 Age when he began touring

18 Age when he came to America

57 His current age (he was born March 9, 1951)

150 Number of concerts he gives a year

551,000 Google hits for “Zakir Hussain”

1 billion Number of times he has been called a genius


"Since I was 3 years old, the tabla's been at my side," he said. "I cannot imagine myself without it. I share that joy with the audience." (Salt Lake Tribune)

“People used to relate to India through the sound of the sitar. Now it’s not that. ? People know there is more to the sounds of India than just the sitar and that makes me feel really good. Somehow, it has gotten to the point where the sound is not only recognizable, but also in a lot of demand.” (Innerviews.org)

“I remember the first time I stole my mother's pots and turned them upside down and began banging on them. Actually I also do remember the first time I played drums. I was about 6. The memory is quite vivid: Me playing drums for my father while he was teaching me. It was 3 or 4 in morning. He'd just woken me up. In India the guru teaches when he feels like it, not when you're ready. In our house it was even more so. My father would wake me up and teach me when he wanted to. But almost 50 years later, I'm still here.” (Houston Chronicle)


The son of tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha, the accompanist of sitarist Ravi Shankar in the 1960s and 1970s, Hussain was a child prodigy who began touring before he was a teen-ager.

He is considered one of the greatest tabla players ever. In 1988, he became the youngest percussionist to ever be awarded the title of Padma Shri. In 1991, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, one of the youngest musicians to be recognized by India's governing cultural institute.

In 1992, he founded live concert performances by masters of classical music of India. Four years later, he received the honor of co-composing the opening music for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

A resident of Marin County, Calif., Zakir is married to noted Kathak dancer Antonia Minnecola, an Italian-American. He has two daughters, Anisa Qureshi and Isabella Qureshi.



One of his many virtuoso performances


Hussain’s tabla and taal demonstration

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