February 8, 2019 Blog

Career of Zakir Hussain


Zakir Hussain is a Indian Tabla player in Hindustani classical music. He is musical producer, film actor and a music composer. He is a son of the tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha.  The genetic effect can be seen very clearly in Zakir Hussain. He has given musical performances across the globe.


Full Name-Zakir Hussain Qureshi

Profession-Indian Classical Musician (Tabla Maestro)

Date of Birth-9th March 1951

Birth Place-Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Zodiac Sign-Pisces


Generes-Hindustani classical music, jazz fusion, world music

College University-St. Xavier Mumbai Maharashtra, India

University of Washington USA

Educational Qualification-Graduate Phd (Music)

Family- Father-Ustad Alla Rakha

Mother-Bavi Begum


Hobbies-Writing and Playing Instruments

Wife-Antonia Minnecola-she is Kathak Dancer

Daughters-Anisha Qureshi and Isabella Qureshi

Career Of Zakir Hussain

He was born to a talented family so he gained popularity at very primary level. As his father was renowned tabla player so his inclination towards table was his innate ability.  Along with his stage performance he has true devotion towards his education too and went to St. Michael's High School in Mahim and eventually graduated from St. Xavier's in Mumbai. He also did his PhD and received a doctorate in music from the University of Washington. In his early twenties only he has lamost performed in 150 concerts in a year. He has worked with many international bands like The Beatles, Shanti as well as renowned artists across the globe. His first solo release, Making Music, received rave reviews worldwide. Zakir Hussain came into headlines with his album Planet Drum, in collaboration with Mickey Hart which received a Grammy for the Best World Music Album in Year 1992. He has composed the music for several movies like heat and dust. He has received a host of awards in India too. Zakir Hussain gained attention with his solo and group performance. He has performed in U.S and Europe. He also collaborated with many musicians from all over India and the world. As he moved to perform at international levels his career has escalated with lots of work opportunities. He has worked with many talented musicians not in India but overseas also. When he got opportunities to work at international level his work amazed the audience across the globe. He introduced fusion music to the world which was quite new to every audience around the world.  He has worked in international movies too. In movies also he has given an outstanding performance.

1971-He has recorded with an American psychedelic band ‘Shanti’

1975- He has worked with John McLaughlin in a band ‘Shakti’.

1987- Zakir Hussain released his first solo musical album named ‘Making Music’. His first solo album was proclaimed to be most inspired East –West fusion album.

1991-Planet Drum album, released

Film Career of Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain has given an outstanding performance as music composer also. He has composed music for several movies like In Custody’, ‘The Mystic Masseur’, ‘Heat and Dust’ etc. His music composition for the Malayalam movie ‘Vanaprastham’, was screened at Cannes Flim Festival . Some of the other films in which he has contributed as a music composer are Apocalypse Now’, ‘Little Buddha’, ‘Saaz’, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Iyer’ and ‘One Dollar Curry’.  Zakir has performed in such movies which has depicted his career as a musical performer. His portrayal of the character ‘Inder Lal’ in the film ‘Heat and Dust’ is beyond comparison. He was also casted in few brilliant documentaries like The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum’ which was released in the year 2003 and ‘Zakir and His Friends’ in the year 1998.

Best Discographies Of Zakir Hussain

Rolling Thunder-This was first solo album by drummer Mickey Hart. In this album musical classical table was performed by Zakir Hussain and his father.

Karuna Supreme–Created by American saxophonist John Handy, which gave another chance to Zakir Hussain to perform at International level. This album was a major success both at the commercial level and at the critics level.

In 1988 Zajir Hussain came up with his own album titled ‘Tabla Duet’. It featured himself along with his father, Alla Rakha.


Padma Shree-Zakir Hussain was the youngest percussionist ever to receive Padma Shree by the Government of India in the year 1988.

Padma Bhushan -In the year 2002  Zakir Hussain was awarded with the India’s third highest civilian award; Padma Bhushan. He was again the youngest percussionist ever to be honored with Padma Shree.

Indo-American Award-for his incredible cultural contribution Zakir Hussain was awarded with Indo American Award in the year 1990.

National Heritage Fellowship- in the year 1999 he became the proud Indian to receive the America’s most prestigious honor in the field of traditional arts.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-In the year 1991 Zakir Hussain was awarded with this award . He was the youngest musician to ever receive this award. This award was given to him by the President of India.

Grammy Award-He received his first Grammy Award for his album ‘Planet Drum “.  He won his second Grammy during the 51st Grammy Awards for his album ‘Global Drum Project’ under the category, Contemporary World Music Album in year 2008

Kalidas Samman- in year 2006 he was honored with this award by the Government Of Madhya Pradesh for his exceptional achievement in his  respective field.

Lifetime Achievement Award- In the year 2012 he was awarded with the Guru Gangadhar Pradhan (lifetime achievement) award at  Konark Dance & Music Festival.

In year 2016 he received invitation by the then American president Barack Obama. He was the first Indian musician to be invited to attend the All-Star Global Concert held in the White House.

Contributions of Zakir Hussain

The contributions of Zakir Hussain is vital in shaping the contemporary world music movement. His numerous overseas collaborations has taken Indian Classical music to international level. He has showed the world that tabla can be used as main instruments in concerts. He is an inspiration for the young table players and he has opened many gateways to Indo Western musical collaborations.