Zakir Hussain and his Masters of Percussion enthralled audiences with thundering rhythms and soulful melodies. Never losing its momentum, listeners were bombarded with unimaginable feats of dexterity from some of the most charismatic performers India has to offer.
The format of the evening traced the evolution of Indian percussion from simple folk rhythms, through to the refined and intricate classical tabla and then on to the age of fusion. A troupe of folk drummers from Manipur opened the show, dancing and leaping through the air as they drummed out folk beats.
Then a sudden silence in a darkened auditorium. The stillness was broken by the gentle and soulful sarangi of Dilshad Khan. Calming and soothing, we were now invited into the refined world of classical tabla. With great patience and dignity Zakir Hussain began what was to be a most incredible demonstration of classical tabla, leaving in complete awe, anyone who understood what they had just witnessed. He had once again proved himself to be the undisputed King of Tabla. Now, it was time for the fun to begin!
One by one all the musicians joined the show. Not before long the audience left in fits of laughter as each artist mingled their percussive and melodic wizardry with brilliant comedy as imitations of Indian traffic, lovers’ quarrels and arguments with airport officials were enacted through music. At one point, Taufiq Qureshi even tapped out the theme tune of the Pink Panther on his cheeks! Finally, sitar wizard Niladri Kumar completed the group, demonstrating lightning speed enhanced with sound effects from his laptop.
Elevated to a state of ecstasy, the performance then wound down with a beautiful Rajasthani folk melody before the Manipuri drummers concluded the show, taking the audience full circle back to the start of the show.