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Zakir Hussain’s ‘Perspectives’ at Carnegie Hall

Charles Lloyd, Bela Fleck and others dazzle in a 4-night series

Zakir Hussain

This Perspectives series, held April 26-29 at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and Stern Auditorium, showcased Indian tabla drum virtuoso Zakir Hussain in four diverse settings. “I conceived of this series as moving from the traditional into the new, from where I’ve begun to where I’m heading,” said Hussain in the program notes. Renowned for his versatility in collaborating with everyone from John McLaughlin (in Shakti and Remember Shakti) to George Harrison to Pharoah Sanders, Jack Bruce, Bill Laswell, Henry Kaiser, Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Hussain has continually pushed the envelope on his instrument while remaining indelibly tied to the North Indian classical tradition. He celebrated both aspects of his playing in these four stunning concerts.

Opening night at Zankel Hall paired Hussain with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, India’s greatest living exponent of the santoor, a Kashmiri folk instrument that has 86 strings and is played like a hammered dulcimer. Together they created vibrant, mesmerizing ragas and talas that developed slowly and eloquently, gradually building to ecstatic peaks of dazzling virtuosity.

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