“Music is my world. It is the garb I wear."
Ustad Zakir Hussain has recently opened up about the importance of music in his life. He revealed that his “friend”, the tabla, is the reason he wakes up every morning.
The musician said his father Allah Rakha strongly believed that instruments had their own spirit and that for a music student, it was crucial to have a bond with them.
Speaking of this belief, Hussain said:
“My father always said that each instrument has a spirit and if you are a student, half the battle is to get that spirit to accept you as a mate, as a friend.
“Once that happens, the instrument reveals how you should react to it, touch it and express yourself through it.”
He spoke fondly of the tabla and revealed that he could not imagine a life without it.
Hussain said: “Music is my world. It is the garb I wear.
“Tabla is a mate, it is a brother, a friend, it’s the bed I sleep in. I am at a point where my relationship with the spirit of my tabla is special.
“I find myself at a place where I cannot imagine that I can exist without it. It motivates me to get up in the morning and say hello.”
Believing in the powers of social media, Zakir Hussain continued:
“I cannot thank social media enough. Without that, the kind of attention and visibility that musicians receive today won’t be possible. Its role is enormous.
“Around 35-40 years ago, we would be touring and you wouldn’t know about it.
“But today, you know exactly where I am, what I’m eating and where I’m performing.”
Hussain performed his first concert at the age of seven and was introduced to the world of tours at 12 years old.
He completed his studies in Mumbai and in 1970 he went to the USA, where he began his international career.
During his international career, Hussain performed with names such as George Harrison, Van Morrison and popular band Earth, Wind and Fire.
Hussain revealed that most members of his family are involved in some sort of art form. Speaking about his wife and daughters, he explained:
“My wife (Antonia Minnecola) is a dancer, one daughter is a filmmaker, and my other daughter is a ballet teacher, so everything is art and music.
“It is such an agreeable place to be where we all are in a world where we think, act, behave and go forward with the same ideas, thoughts and on the same path.
“Music has given me everything that I am. Music has brought me to the world, and it has brought the world to me.”
Zakir Hussain is set to perform with renowned sitarist Niladri Kumar and flute player Rakesh Chaurasia at The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) from September 23-24, 2023.