Review: Zakir Hussain + the Masters of Percussion at the Boulder Theater. ~ Mary Panton

Via elephant journal
on Mar 8, 2010
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Zakir Hussain

An elephant journal sponsored event.

There was a train barreling through the Boulder Theater tonight. Zakir Hussain and his Master Percussionists took us on a journey not unlike the journey we call life.

It started with a breath. Om. Then a snap, snap. Om snap snap. It seemed easy, natural. We were given permission to have rhythm by the simple fact that we all breathe. People liked that. The audience breathed and snapped. And just when we all inhaled in unison, the drums came pounding through the aisle and up to the stage. The woman in front of me started grooving and as I looked around, people of all ages were moving to the rhythm. The trio on stage effortlessly moved through their call and response. They made scratching sounds and clicked their sticks in rhythms that captivated and enticed.

Then the white lights, the white robes, the white drums resting on purple pillows came to life as Zakir made the two small drums sound like strings, water drops, tap shoes and, yes, even a train. He made short sentences out of the taps and clicks and drops of his drums. The story? Come in; boom boom. Have a drink; dhug, dhug. Why are you late? Sit down over there; digga, digga, boom, dhug, tik, tik, tik. The audience roared with laughter. Suddenly everyone could hear the story the drums were telling.

Zakir had an unbelievable solo. He can make the drums make sounds I’ve never heard before. And the incredible amount of energy he put forth with those ten fingers to make more strokes per second than I can imagine was truly intense. Then came the ensemble and I wondered if he would play as intensely. No. Two violins and two drummers made for an entirely different movement; they watched each other, played off each other. The audience relaxed. There was a feeling of calm in this rhythm together.

We all have a rhythm in us. A rhythm to our lives. The lesson from the Masters seemed to teach that no particular beat is wrong. Every beat leads to the next and transition from one rhythm to the next is the only thing that really distinguishes them from running on forever. Like life, we can all have that solo of frenetic energy but we can’t keep it up forever. We breathe. We snap. We ticka, ticka, tap. And the most profound moments of our lives can be in the silent beat that transitions from one rhythm to the next.

Mary Panton

Mary Panton is elephant’s new favorite human being of the week!


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6 Responses to “Review: Zakir Hussain + the Masters of Percussion at the Boulder Theater. ~ Mary Panton”

  1. Hi, Mary.

    This is wonderful, wonderful. I have loved tabla music ever since I happened to hear sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Kahn in high school. Who knows, the tabla player might have even been Zakir Hussein, since his bio says he accompanied Ali Akbar Kahn back then.

    Some say the highly syncopated rhythms of flamenco guitar that I play ( ) had their origins in India, where the Spanish Gypsies supposedly migrated from originally. Sometimes I imagine this is the hidden link between my two worlds of flamenco guitar and Yoga writing!

    Thanks again for bringing this wonderful music to us on Elephant. I'm off to listen to Zakir's albums. There are about 30 of them on Rhapsody.

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. Mary says:

    Thanks for reading, Bob. It was my pleasure to bring the music to Elephant. But the real thanks is to the musicians who bring the stories to our lives. Do you live in Boulder? I would love to learn about the yoga scene here. I have a friend who plays Live Music for Yoga. You might want to check out that website for a review in your yoga blog.
    Hope you enjoyed a day of tabla!
    Mary Panton

  3. I've really been enjoying this music on Rhapsody.

    No, I'm not in Boulder. I live in Milwaukee.


  4. Mary says:

    That's too bad. But still nice to meet you on Ele!

  5. Lisa Tsering says:

    nicely written! 🙂

  6. Anjelica says:

    Zakir-hussain, I always respect him. He is a very good person. I' enjoying this music on Rhapsody. It is too good. Thanks for this post.