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Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain

Personal Profile (Personal Biography)

  • - Date of Birth: 9 March 1951
  • - Birth Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • - Zodiac Sign: Pisces
  • - Religion: Muslim
  • - Marital Status: Married

Family Background

  • - Father's Name: Ustad Alla Rakha
  • - Mother's Name: Bavi Begum
  • - Brother : Taufiq Qureshi and Fazal Qureshi
  • - Wife : Antonia Minnecola
  • - Daughters : Anisa Qureshi, Isabella Qureshi


  • - Schooling from St. Michael's High School in Mahim
  • - Graduation from St Xaviers, Mumbai.

Interesting Facts About Zakir Hussain

  • - Zakir Hussain is the youngest percussionist to be awarded civillian honors from Indian goverment.
  • - Zakir Hussain is widely considered as the chief architect of the contemporary world music movement.
  • - His father Ustad Allarakha was himself an established tabla player.

Most Famous Albums

  • - Shakti (1975 Columbia)
  • - A Handful of Beauty (1976 Columbia)
  • - Saturday Night in Bombay (2001 Universal Records)
  • - Rolling Thunder
  • - The Melody of Rhythm

Who is Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain is a classical tabla virtuoso and the most famous tabla player in India today. His contribution in the field of percussion and in the music world at large is highly appreciated. Zakir Hussain was a child prodigy and started touring by the age of twelve. He came to the United States in 1970 and started his international career. Zakir Hussain has had the opportunity to perform with many talented musicians not just in India but also all over the world. He became a famous international phenomenon. Zakir Hussain married an Italian-American Kathak Dancer, Antonia Minnecola and is blessed with two daughters. He teaches Tabla to advanced students in both San Francisco and Mumbai.


Zakir Hussain began his international career from United States in 1970. The exceptional career includes more than 150 concert dates a year. Hussain is a founding member of Bill Laswell's 'World Music Supergroup' Tabla Beat Science. In 1992, he 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 Indian classical music. Moment Records' 2006 released Golden Strings of the Sarode, with Aashish Khan and Zakir Hussain, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album category for that year. Zakhir Hussain also released his first solo album "Making Music" in the year 1987, which was proclaimed to be one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever.

Hussain also starred in the Merchant Ivory Film Heat and Dust in 1983, for which he also composed the score. He composed, performed and acted as Indian music advisor for the film Vanaprastham, which won awards at 2000 Istanbul International Film Festival (Turkey), 2000 Bombay International Film Festival (India), and 2000 National Film Awards (India). He has composed soundtracks for several movies, most notably In Custody and The Mystic Masseur by Ismail Merchant, and has played tabla on the soundtracks of Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now, Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha, and other films.

He starred in several films specifically showcasing his musical performance both solo and with different bands, including the 1998 documentary "Zakir and His Friends", and the documentary "The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum" (2003 Sumantra Ghosal). He also performs in the DVDs The Rhythm Devils Concert Experience (2008), and The Way of Beauty (2006) with the band Remember Shakti.

Awards and Honors

  • - Zakir Hyssain has been facilitated with highest civillian orders of India like Padma Shri in 1988 and Padma Bhushan in 2002.
  • - Awarded the Indo-American Award in 1990 in recognition for his outstanding cultural contribution to relations between the United States and India.
  • - Presented with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1991 by the President of India.
  • - In 1992 Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Hussain and Mickey Hart, was awarded the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album, the Downbeat Critics' Poll for Best World Beat Album and the NARM Indie Best Seller Award for a World Music Recording.
  • - Recipient of the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, the United States' most prestigious honor for a master in the traditional arts.
  • - Named an Old Dominion Fellow by the Humanities Council at Princeton University.
  • - Recipient of the prestigious Kalidas Samman in 2006 from the government of Madhya Pradesh.
  • - Golden Strings of the Sarode with Aashish Khan and Zakir Hussain was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional World Music Album category in 2006.
  • - In 2007, readers' polls from both Modern Drummer and Drum magazines named Zakir Hussain Best World Music and Best World Beat Drummer respectively.
  • - On 8 February, 2009 for 51st Grammy Awards, Zakir Hussain won the Grammy in the Contemporary World Music Album category for his collaborative album "Global Drum Project" along with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo