METRO PLUS

The magic of two

Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Shivkumat Sharma at the concert in the city. PHOTO: K. PICHUMANI

Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Shivkumat Sharma at the concert in the city. PHOTO: K. PICHUMANI  



Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Ustad Zakir Hussain brought the full house down during their recent concert in the city



The curly-haired wizards have come many times earlier. We have watched them many times earlier. And, each time, they unfailingly conquer. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Ustad Zakir Hussain brought the full house down yet again on Saturday at the ‘Splendour of the Masters…Together through decades' concert organised by the Banyan Tree Events at the Music Academy. The concert was aptly titled as this jodi's musical association spans over 30 years. Ustad Zakir Hussain's legendary father Ustad Allah Rakha used to play with Pandit before the son took over when in his teens.

If Pandit's somberness and the tuneful strings of his santoor transported you to the Himalayan peaks (he hails from Jammu), the Ustad's exuberance and his adrenalin-pushing thumps on the tabla seem to symbolise the frenetic pace of life in the plains.

The two maestros displayed how untainted classical music can enthral and more so hearteningly, youngsters.

Pandit delved into the raags in a quaint unhurried manner, allowing every note to be savoured. He stirred up the meditative moods of alaap, the evocativeness of bandhish and the lilt of folk tunes all within 120 minutes. The dulcet and sprightly tones in the light classical piece post-interval were the result of the elegant senior musician's striking the strings with the mallets in refreshingly unconventional ways. Not difficult for someone who determinedly adapted the folk-instrument into classical genre.

All through, the dynamic Ustad, who's made the world tap its feet to Indian taal, preferred to be a supportive and unobtrusive accompanist. Having mostly watched him as part of fusion groups and poly-rhythmic performances, it was a joy to see him indulge in vintage Hindusthani beats.

When the duo wound up the recital with a chilling crescendo of melody and rhythm, the hall reverberated with requests for an encore. The Ustad then tapped on his tummy to tell the audience he was too hungry to continue. But, food had to wait.

Post-concert, the Ustad known for his star appeal, was mobbed for autographs and photographs. He obliged most and even kept them amused with his one-liners. An excited teenager asked if he could meet the master percussionist in Bombay. And the Ustad said, ‘but I don't live in Bombay'. The youngster persisted, ‘I know sir, but I heard you will be in Bombay till March'. The Ustad continued with a serious face, ‘but I don't live Bombay. I live nearby Bombay in a place called Mumbai'. And everybody burst into peels of laughter.

Meanwhile, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma snatched a few moments to relax before the autograph-hunters spotted him. Going by the astonishing response, you asked him if all the talk of classical music being on the wane is hollow. “Of course, yes,” he insisted. “It's just the making of the electronic media. Despite a channel-boom, there's no slot for classical music. How do you think we can create the next-generation of listeners?” he asked.

CHITRA SWAMINATHAN

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