“Please aap mujhe ustad naa bulayein.” (Please don’t call me a master)” I am a very small artist compared to the doyen sitting in the front row (which included Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia) and the founder of this festival Guru Gangadhar Pradhan.”
As he made this statement the entire Natya Mandap was filled with reverberation of clapping hands welcoming the great tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain who had come to Odisha for the first time to play in a concert at the Konark Dance and Music Festival. He was honoured with the Guru Gangadhar Pradhan Life-time achievement award.
“Arey huzoor wah taj boliye.” He was accompanied on stage with Shabbir Khan, a 24-year-old sarod sensation. Soon the entire crowd was enthralled by the music concocted by the hands of Zakir Hussain.
Whilst playing the tabla, he radiated the energy of a 20 year old ,sometimes pausing in the midst of the rendition, he would joke with the audience and then carry on.
Zakir Hussain enchanted the jam-packed open-air auditorium by his recital,one could hear people murmuring “Ohhh” “Waaah” and so he began his journey creating the effects of the pakhawaj,mridang and dholak from his tabla. He narrated the story of how Lord Shiva destroyed the asuras to how black clouds sound when expressed through this percussion instrument to how auto rickshaws,cycles and buses amble or meander through the streets of India and how pitter-patter of rain and the thunder of monsoons affect our country.Many people were moved to tears as the great Maestro of Tabla narrated each sequence so beautifully through his hands,often gesticulating to the audience narrating small instances from daily life and reproducing them on the tabla.He also performed a piece from the 300 year old Lahori Gath composition.
We all know who Zakir Hussain is and his fabulous contribution to world music.A towering figure in not only classical Indian music but also in the world music scenario, he is a man who has collaborated with the likes of Van Morrison,Babatunde Olatunji and has even given background score for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.So we recommend our readers to go and watch that movie again and when you hear the sounds of the tabla and drums you will surely know whose hands are playing them.
Well enough said and done.Here you go with the photographs of this most memorable and mesmerizing evening at Konark.
Article by : Aditya Kiran Nag