Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have not only established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, but gained him worldwide fame. The favorite accompanist for many of India's greatest classical musicians and dancers, from Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar to Birju Maharaj and Shivkumar Sharma, he has not let his genius rest there. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study.
Zakir Hussain & The Rhythm Experience Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Zakir's contribution to world music has been unique, with many historic collaborations including Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L. Shankar, the Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, YoYo Ma, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony.
A child prodigy, Zakir was touring by the age of twelve, the gifted son of his great father, tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha. Zakir came to the United States in 1970, embarking on an international career which includes no fewer than 150 concert dates a year. He has composed and recorded many albums and soundtracks, and has received widespread recognition as a composer for his many ensembles and historic collaborations. Most recently, he has composed soundtracks for the films In Custody, Ismail Merchant's directorial debut, Little Buddha by Bernardo Bertolucci, for which Zakir composed, performed and acted as Indian music advisor and Vanaprastham, chosen to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May, 1999.
Zakir received the distinct honor of co-composing the opening music for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, 1996, and was commissioned to compose music for San Francisco's premiere contemporary ballet company, Lines, and to compose an original work for the San Francisco Jazz Festival, both in 1998. He has received numerous grants and awards, including participation in the Meet the Composer programs funded by the Pew Memorial Trust.
In 1987, his first solo release, "Making Music," was acclaimed as "one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever recorded." In 1988, he became the youngest percussionist to ever be awarded the title of "Padma Shri" by the Indian government, a title given to civilians of merit. In 1990, he was awarded the Indo-American Award in recognition for his outstanding cultural contribution to relations between the United States and India. In April, 1991, he was presented with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the President of India, making him one of the youngest musicians to receive this recognition from India's governing cultural institute. Zakir is the recipient of the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, the United States' most prestigious honor for a master in the traditional arts.
In 1992, Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Zakir and Mickey Hart, was awarded a Grammy for Best World Music Album, the Downbeat Critics Poll for Best World Beat Album and the NARM Indie Best Seller Award for World Music Recording. Planet Drum, with Zakir as music director, toured nationally in 1996 and 1997. Zakir continues also to tour with the musicians from Shakti - John McLaughlin, Shankar and T.H. Vinayakram - in different collaborations and ensembles as well as lead various percussion ensembles of his own design. In Summer'99, Shakti re-grouped for an international tour.
On January 26, 2002 Zakir Hussain was awarded the title of "Padma Bhushan" by the President of India, in recognition of his artistic excellence and the great contribution he has made in the field of music in India and abroad. 2002 saw the release of Merchant-Ivory's "Mystic Masseur", and Rahul Bose's "Everybody Says I'm Fine", both with music direction by Zakir. Also in 2002 Zakir's composition for the Silk Road Project was performed by Zakir with cellist YoYo Ma and other musicians as they accompanied the Mark Morris Dance Company in the piece "Kolam".
In 1992, Zakir founded Moment! Records which features original collaborations in the field of contemporary world music, as well as live concert performances by great masters of the classical music of India. The label presents Zakir's own world percussion ensemble, The Rhythm Experience, both North and South Indian classical recordings, Best of Shakti, and a Masters of Percussion series.
Ty has been with Zakir since 1990 and in 1995 Ty began training as Zakir's personal tour assistant. Their relationship completely shifted the course if Ty's life and has continued to bring blessing after blessing as the years come and go.
For a complete catalog of recordings go to : http://www.zakirhussain.com
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma - Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, one of the most popular and revered Indian classical musicians of our day, is certainly our greatest living santoor player. Throughout his performance career of over a half-century, Shivkumar Sharma has fashioned another genre of instrumental music, creating an adoring audience of new listeners and ardent fans of Indian classical music. His performances are a brilliant combination of opulent knowledge, perfect skill and abundant spontaneous creativity, awaited by connoisseurs, music students, musicians and lay listeners alike. He has single-handedly brought about a revolution in the development and history of his instrument, both re-designing and re-defining it. If the santoor today needs no introduction, it is due to his work and genius, since he has brought this little-known Kashmiri folk instrument to the classical concert halls of India and the world.
Born in 1938 in Jammu, Kashmir, Shivkumar was trained by his father, Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, who extensively researched the santoor and, convinced of the potentialities of the instrument, bestowed the responsibility of establishing it for the concert platform on his only son Shivkumar. The young student first learned vocal music and tabla before beginning his study of the santoor, a complete musical training evident in his work and performances. Moreover, in order to achieve the subtleties of Indian classical music, Shivji, early in his career, made important modifications to his instrument, refining the santoor to eighty-six strings and increasing the range to cover a full three octaves. At the same time, he created a new technique with which he is able to masterfully sustain notes and maintain sound continuity.
While he never compromises on the purity of music, Pandit Sharma’s open-minded approach has resulted in popular and innovative recordings, including Call of the Valley, Feelings and Mountains. He has had a long and successful career composing for films and has made the sound of the santoor indispensable to Indian film music. His compositions for blockbusters like Silsila, Lamhe, Chandni, and Darr, to name a few, are all-time favorites. Moreover, he is a dedicated teacher, imparting his knowledge in the Guru Shishya tradition to the next generation of musicians, training students from all over the world. His son and disciple Rahul Sharma has already made a name for himself as a formidable talent and performer. He has garnered many prestigious awards including Padma Vibhushan (2001), the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award (1998), Padmashree (1991), an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Jammu (1991) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1986).
About the santoor: The santoor was first presented on the classical stage by Shivkumar Sharma in Bombay in 1955, when the maestro was only 17 years old. Originally known as "Shata Tantra Veena", literally "hundred-stringed instrument", “santoor” is a Persian word of the same meaning. Used in the early decades of the twentieth century to accompany a style of singing known as Sufiana Mausiqi, the santoor is played with a pair of curved sticks made of walnut and is thought to have been carried around by itinerant gypsies since today we may find its counterpart all over the world--in the kanoon of Turkey, the zither of Germany and the santoori of Greece, to name but a few.
Ty first met Shivkumar Sharma in 2001 when Zakir began the tradition of alternating years between his Masters of Percussion group and his purely classical tours featuring Shivkumar Sharma. Mr Sharma and Ty became fast friends immediately and shared a deep love of meditation and the universe of vibration. Ty recognized that Shivkumar Sharma was one of the very rare maestro musicians who was also equally versed in Nada Yoga and the spiritual traditions of meditation. Ty's apprenticeship began during their very first tour together and has only deepened in the years that have followed. Looking through the lens of music to recognize the vast, mysterious and beautiful workings of the universe and ourselves is a thread which weaves its way through both of their private lives.
Further information on Shivkumar Sharma and the santoor at:
Ustad Sultan Khan is one of the foremost sarangi players in India, renowned for his extraordinary technical and melodic control over this difficult stringed instrument. A representative of the Indore gharana (style of school of music), Sultan Khansahib is the grandson of Ustad Azim Khan, a renowned sarangi player of his time, and the son of Ustad Gulab Khan who is both an acknowledged sarangi player and vocalist. Sultan Khansahib begain his initial training with his father, and by the age of eleven gave his first solo performance at the All India Music Conference. The instrument most like the human voice, the sarangi is one of the most sonorous bowing instruments. The classical music audience has recently enjoyed it's ascendance to solo performance status through the efforts of artists like Ustad Sultan Khan, whose solo performance is widely in demand all over the world.
Ty began studying sarangi with Ustad Sultan Khan in 1996. Even though Ty never intended to perform on the sarangi, the musical guidance and devotion uncovered in his lessons with Khansab molded his relationship to music and brought a devotional facet into his life which can only be touched and illuminated by a great Soul such as Ustad Sultan Khan. Ty has had the honor of accompanying his tabla Guruji Zakir Hussain for tabla solo as well as a couple of tabla solos by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Art Lande is considered one of the premiere improvisational jazz pianists today. Pianist, drummer, composer, and teacher, Art begain piano at age 4. In 1969 he went to San Francisco where he played with Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Bobby Hutcherson, Steve Swallow and Charlie Haden, and formed a group featuring Mark Isham called Rubisa Patrol. In 1973, Art visited Europe and began recording for ECM Records in Germany, eventually making six albums with musicians like Paul McCandless, Jan Garbarek, Dave Samuels, and Gary Peacock. Art has written over 200 compositions for jazz groups, chamber ensembles, voices, big bands and orchestras. He appears in many of the "Who's Who in Jazz" encyclopedias available today for his role in the development of "Chamber Jazz." Ty has been studying composition and improvisation with Art Lande since 1992.
Listening Thunder (Robert Gopher) 1930 - 1998 was one of America's great native rights activists of our generation. His contributions and life long efforts have made deep impact into real peoples lives and into policy making for future generations.
He was a product of American segregation, having been kicked out of the first grade for wearing his traditional braids at Great Falls' now infamous Franklin School. His legacy, most notably, leading the effort of Native Americans in the environmental struggle to ban open-pit heap leach mines in Montana in 1998.
The ban passed on the day of his burial, November 3, 1998. He was proud of his accomplishments in an era when native people were at the back of the bus in terms of wide recognition and acclaim. He had up to then, encouraged Native Americans to assume leadership roles. Most notable was his support of 1996 Candidate for U.S. House, Bill Yellowtail. Like many traditional people, he was a humble person. It can be said many native and other regional environmentalists stood on the shoulders of a giant like him.
He worked as a young man to address poverty in Great Falls, helping found the area's most effective anti-poverty organization, Opportunities, Inc. He founded the Foundation for Indian Advancement to address the crisis of Hill 57, the International Powwow Society to return native culture as a norm, rather than embrace and accept destructive federal and church assimilation policies. He founded Loud Thunder International, Inc. his enduring legacy that continues to this day. This is a new effort to launch the Listening Thunder Spirit Fellowships to further the work of environmental, social justice, civil rights and cultural activists in our region, nation and hemisphere. Robert Gopher, Anishinabe (Ojibwe, or Chippewa) believed in the concept of "one human family." This concept was based on a mutually recognized right to exist of all people. Robert Gopher was a lifelong advocate for the oppressed, marginalized and voiceless. His life experience began as a child following his father around to various sundances (thirst lodge). He became proficient in the traditional wisdom of his elders at an early age. This was good preparation; as the youngest of 5 brothers, he lost his father to cancer, Robert was just a youth of 16 years. The elders of the thirst lodges, continued to provide him guidance throughout his youth and adult life--and stepped up to fill the gap. Never one to be discouraged by disadvantages, he devoted his life to the concept of an equal and just society. He founded many social, economic, cultural, educational and environmental endeavors. He was a kind person, but a stern father. He fathered eight children, and lost a son, Gerald, in infancy, he raised his sons to be powwow singers, and he continued with a lifetime commitment of living the example "one person can make a difference."