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Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. As a classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have not only established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, but gained him worldwide fame. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity founded in formidable knowledge and study. The favorite accompanist for many of India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers, he has not let his genius rest there.
Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world-music movement, Hussain has created many historic collaborations, including in the acoustic Indian fusion band Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar; the quintet Remember Shakti, which combined traditional Indian music with jazz; the Diga Rhythm Band; and the “world-music supergroup” Tabla Beat Science . He has recorded various innovative albums, such as Making Music, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, and Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland, and performed with artists as diverse as George Harrison, YoYo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Rennie Harris, and the Kodo drummers. His music and extraordinary contribution to the music world were honored in April 2009, with four widely heralded and sold-out concerts as part of New York Carnegie Hall’s Perspectives series.
Rahul Sharma is a master of the 100-stringed Kashmiri santoor, which is a similar instrument to the hammered dulcimer. Sharma is the son of well-known Indian artist Shivkumar Sharma, and both father and son are renowned for their skill on this instrument. They have transformed it from a Kashmiri folk object to a respected instrument in Indian classical circles. Rahul has released more than sixty live and studio albums; one of his milestone recordings is Music of the Himalayas, which was recorded for Peter Gabriel’s label called Real World Records. In 2011, Rahul released one of India’s best-selling albums called Namaste India, with GRAMMY winner and renowned saxophonist Kenny G.