Master of Percusion Zakir Hussain, Niladri Kumar, Eric Harland and The Kerala Drummers on April 21 at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge

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Zakir-Hussain (Photo: JIM MCGUIRE)

BOSTON – World Music/CRASHarts presents Masters of Percussion Zakir Hussain  on Sunday, April 21, 7:30pm, at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, MA.

In a dazzling display of Indian percussion, tabla superstar Zakir Hussain is joined by the finest musicians from India’s classical and folk traditions. Performing separately and together, the lineup includes Zakir Hussain on tabla, Niladri Kumar on sitar, The Kerala Drummers, and Eric Harland on drums.

Zakir Hussain is appreciated in both the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, Hussain plays with 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. His contribution to music has been unique, with many historic collaborations including Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar in the early 1970’s; the Diga Rhythm Band; Making Music; the Grammy Award−winning Planet Drum with Mickey Hart; Tabla Beat Science; and Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland. Hussain has recorded and performed with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira, Giovanni Hidalgo, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Bela Fleck, Herbie Hancock, and Rennie Harris, among many others.

As a composer, he has scored music for numerous feature films and major events and has composed three concertos. The most recent enjoys the distinction of being the first-ever concerto for tabla and orchestra and was premiered in India in September 2015, in Europe and the UK in 2016, and in the U.S. in April 2017, by the National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center. A multiple Grammy award winner, he is the recipient of countless awards and honors, including Padma Bhushan, National Heritage Fellowship and Officier in France’s Order of Arts and Letters. In 2015, he was voted “Best Percussionist” by both the DownBeat Critics’ Poll and Modern Drummer’s Reader’s Poll. He has taught at Princeton, Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley, and is the founder and president of Moment! Records, an independent record label presenting rare live concert recordings of Indian classical music and international music. Hussain was resident artistic director at SFJazz from 2013 until 2016, and was presented with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 in recognition of his “unparalleled contribution to the world of music.”

Niladri Kumar
Blessed with a lineage of five generations of sitar players, Niladri Kumar has revolutionized the style of sitar playing and has even invented his own instrument, the red electric sitar, which he coined as the Zitar. He is hailed as one of the serious exponents of Indian music with a prodigious style that makes his music appealing to the youth and the masses at large. Critics state that he has an unmatchable, effortless mastery over the instrument, with magical fingers producing soul stirring, brilliant compositions. He has inspired many to learn the sitar and has been bestowed and recognized with several prestigious awards and valued titles. Kumar has released over 10 albums and has contributed immensely to the Indian film industry.

Eric Harland
Eric Harland is one of the most “in demand” drummers of his generation in the world of jazz. He has worked on more than 400 recordings and film scores. He has shared the stage with the likes of Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Terence Blanchard, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Savion Glover, and the SFJazz Collective. He’s played alongside current rising stars, including Esperanza Spalding, Jane Monheit, Taylor Eigsti, Julian Lage, Stacie Orrico, and Robert Glasper. He currently works in multiple groups, including James Farm with Joshua Redman, Prism with Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks, Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Zakir Hussain, Overtone with Dave Holland, Jason Moran, and Chris Potter, and his own Voyager. Outside jazz, he’s also collaborated with Les Claypool’s Primus, John Mayer, Mariah Carey, Steve Miller, and Spike Lee. Harland was the Resident Artistic Director at the SFJazz Center for the 2014-2016 seasons and the Artist in Residence at the Monterey Jazz Festival of 2014.

Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar and Group: The Drummers of Kerala
In the Indian tradition, Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar’s first teacher was his father, and from an early age he began his studies of thayambaka, a call-and-response style of drumming using the South Indian chenda, a cylindrical instrument. This art is often associated with the story-play style of Kathakali, a classical South Indian dance form. Eventually, Mattannur was assigned the role of “Mela Pramani,” and performed in Temple Festivals across Southern India. In duet form, he has played with such greats as Ustad Allarakha and Padmashree Umayalpuaram Sivaraman. He was awarded the Padmasree by the President of India in 2009.

The Drummers of Kerala features Mattannur’s sons V. M. Sreekanth and V. M. Sreeraj, and their fellow Keralan Vellinezhi Anand. All three have spent their lives training in thayambaka and temple rituals, and have played with outstanding Indian artists including the legendary vocalist Hariharan, both in India and all over the world.

Tickets $65, $50, $40, and $30, reserved seating. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at worldmusic.org.

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