West Looks to India for Inspiration: Zakir Hussain

West looks to India for inspiration: Zakir Hussain
February 17, 2013  

India is fast becoming cultural capital of Asia, says tabla maestro.

Bureau Report

BENGALURU: The West now looks to India for inspiration in music, says the San Francisco-based Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, who is in India to perform with the Symphony Orchestra of India for a performance in Mumbai later this week.

A child prodigy, Hussain,62, who first performed professionally when he was 12 — his father was legendary tabla player Alla Rakha Khan — and since then toured the world, collaborating with hundreds of global musicians, starting own record company, and composing soundtracks for films including Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Little Buddha” in 1993, said in an interview to The Wall Street Journal that some of the artists he would like to work with are cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Zubin Mehta and would also like to be able to have a commissioned piece that would feature orchestra with tabla.

Asked his opinion about music in India today, Hussain said: “I think it’s fabulous. The West looks to India for inspiration — it used to be the other way round. The one man who actually took the camera lens to the West and turned it toward India was Ravi Shankar. Until he and my father arrived in America, India was a third world country that had nothing to offer.”

According to him, one of the “greatest things that have happened in India” is the Symphony Orchestra of India. “It’s a big Himalayan climb to be able to find funding, to be able to support a symphony orchestra. The fact that it exists here, while all the symphony orchestras all over the world are closing down due to lack of funding, is amazing,” he said.

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