Hariharan and Ustad Zakir Hussain perform today in the city to mark the release of their new album Hazir 2
It is a case of good music. Hariharan and Ustad Zakir Hussain Hazir Ho! And when the super-talented twain with curly locks meet it is exciting to be part of the creative proceedings. It’s hard to be judgemental about their music. It is joyous, far from recognisable cliches, futuristic as it is rooted and, more significantly, accessible.
Flamboyant singer Hariharan, known for his achingly romantic ghazals and heart-warming film songs may not be walking the musical firmament as often as he used to, but still draws a full house wherever he performs.
The Ustad is an Ustad. The maverick percussionist Zakir Hussain, is a treatise on taal. And when he beats the tabla with his power-packed fingers, barriers break down and musical topography is redrawn.
In a brief interview amidst a packed schedule of rehearsals and interrupted by frequent calls from organisers of live shows and his orchestral team, Hariharan talks about teaming up with Zakirbhai, his experiments with his looks and how it re-energises him and his life-long companion — ghazals.
HAZIR 2: Twenty years ago we teamed up for the first Hazir. Over the past few years, whenever we met, Zakir and I would talk about doing something again together. Finally two years ago, we decided to take Hazir forward by coming up with part two. After all, this is the season of sequels (laughs). The album took a longer time than we expected as the recording had to be timed during Zakir’s India visits and according to our concert schedule.
Teaming with Zakir: Working with Zakir, a man of all genres, can be nothing less than exhilarating. Rediscovering tradition in fresher contexts being his second nature, rather his musical personality, such exercises with him give a curious dimension to your perspective.
Ghazal’s glory: In the noise and fury of diverse modern sounds, ghazal has retained its lyrical and melodious appeal. All the talk of its waning glory is completely misplaced and untrue. Huge crowds and numerous shows across the world for ghazal singers are ample proof of its staunch following. For me, it’s a lifelong commitment.
Tech talk: Releasing an album during these times of free downloads, YouTube clicks, pre-release publicity and post-production economics is not easy. Despite ‘the maximum hits’ determining your creative ability, most artistes manage to find their own space in the chock-o-block soundscape.
Mane matter:I believe the way you look is what you are. I am adventurous, vivacious and colourful and that’s the way I want to appear. My experiments with my hairstyle are a way to keep myself and my music charged.
Hazir 2 today at The Music Academy at 7 p.m.