After winning the Grammy for a second time recently, tabla player Zakir Hussain is elated on being called an
'Ustad' by sitar maestro Pt Ravishankar and says it is unforgettable and the most rewarding experience than any award.
"For me, every award means the good wishes of maestros. Getting an award feels like I am not lagging behind the art, culture and critics," the mesmerising tabla player said during a programme in the capital.
Hussain says, "I treasure most two awards in my life. The first was when my father and teacher Ustad Allah Rakha Khan appreciated my performance and said 'theek hai' (it is right).
"The second was when sitar player Pt Ravishankar at a joint performance introduced me as 'Ustad' Zakir Hussain. I was just 20-years-old at that time," he says.
Music is beyond any religion and community, pointed out the maestro.
"Indian classical music is old and has a rich tradition. The music based on sufism is above all boundaries and all religions. It is secular and there is no place for any demarcations made by the any religion be it Hindu or Muslim," he said.
Talking about the younger generation and the music they opt, he said, "The youngsters of our country like to eat all varieties of food. Similarly they go for all kinds of music. The youth in India is more aware than that of west," Zakir Hussain adds.
"Classical music learners are more devoted and focused. They are more hard-working than what I was when I was of their age," he says.
"Classical music is very popular in foreign countries and its popularity is growing rapidly. So, instead of calling it globalisation, 'Indialisation' is the right word," he adds.
Elaborating on the growing interest in classical music, he says the ratio of audience attending classical music programmes has increased compared to that of any movie award function.
Speaking about today's music players, he said that they are versatile.
"Today, the youth learning classical music has the ability to play Raag Darbari and Raag Malkos and is also well-versed with jazz, pop and fusion. The future of this art is very bright in the hands of such youngsters," says Hussain.
Talking about his companion of the Grammy award winning 'Global Drum Project', he says, "Mickey Hart and me are rhythm players, and we are both keen learners. That is why we might have done many projects together. Despite being a world famous musician he used to telephone at 1 or 2 in the morning to talk about the creation of a note and to tell me that we would listen to it in the morning," says Hussain recalling his days spent practicing with Hart.
"Just 300-years-old, the tabla is the only musical instrument which has both sur and taal, and this is why it is so popular", says Hussain.
"For Real," the next part of 'Global Drum Project', an album with American music company Symphony, and an album with Santoor player Rahul Sharma are among the four projects that the tabla maestro is currently working on.