Zakir Hussain enthralls music aficionados in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU: More than 1,500 music lovers attending the Zakir Hussain concert at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu were seemingly mesmerised as the Indian 'tabla' maestro created alluring rhythms, Tuesday evening.

The concert was jointly organised by the Indian Embassy, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi and Swami Vivekananda Foundation to mark the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic ties between Nepal and India.

Hussain, accompanied by three other Indian musicians playing different musical instruments such as dholak, mridangam and sarangi, rendered his compositions dotted with Rajasthani folk songs for a captivating one and half hours.

The audience, especially those having good grasp of Indian classical music, enjoyed the concert, shaking their heads or clapping their hands in appreciation of every 'bol' of the rendition - mostly in 'Teen Taal' comprising of 16 beats.

One such audience was the noted Nepali musician Deep Shrestha who was all praises for Hussain and hailed him to be a 'magician'.

The 67-year-old tabla maestro who performed in Kathmandu after 17 years made an instant musical connection with the audience through his melodic rhythms, and playfulness in his musical and facial expressions.

For the audience unfamiliar with the intricacies of classical music, Hussain, in between the performances, explained how "Like any other musical instrument, tabla too has its own language. It speaks!"

He then went on to play 'bols' and compositions which convincingly conveyed feelings of human activities, animals' movements, and natural phenomena such as thunder storms, dark clouds, frightened deer escaping the hunter, among others through his renditions and improvisation of the beats, accompanied harmoniously by the mridangam played by Anantha Krishnan, sarangi played by Sabir Khan and dholak by Navin Sharma.

The Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, towards the beginning of the concert delivered his brief remark, "The art and music have played an important role in bringing India and Nepal closer."

As this internationally acclaimed percussionist created magic on his tabla, it seemed like even the winter air at the India House had stood still to listen to the legend.