One of my favourite tabla maestros, Zakir Hussain:

ZakirJi on the topic of playing with musicians across the globe:

“The musical instruments across the globe play the same notes and so in the basic core sense, there is no difference. If anything at all, the difference may come through in how we package it. When we’re working with musicians who are not from India, the main thing is to understand their way of life, more importantly their culture, their social scene and how they interact with each other. Similarly they have to understand what it means when I get on stage and bow to my drums and what it means when I touch my Guru’s feet. Once we understand the social backgrounds, it becomes clear the kind of reverence being put forth towards the art form, the respect and honor one bestows to their elders, etc and this is what reflects in our music. For instance, in an orchestra, I need to know that the only person who is called maestro is the conductor and so when I know that I know how to interact with him.

When this understanding is in place, hearts meet, minds meet and there’s no question of egos or anything else and so this gives way to beautiful music. Forgetting any differences, we need to relate at different levels and this makes the music very multidimensional.”

-Zakir Hussain

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