Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ustad Zakir Hussian

Ustad Zakir Hussian is pretty much the living god of tabla in Indian music today. If you've ever heard him pay, it's obvious why. His album, Drums of India, is pretty much him showing how complex Indian drumming is. Having studied tabla over winter term, I now have a greater appreciation and understanding of what he is doing. Now I know how physically challenging his repetoire is to play, as well as how mind boggling the rhythmic motives are. Teental is the first song on the album, which basically means subdivisions of four concerning the "time signature" (Indian music has no time signature). Teental can be counted on the fingers using the crease at the joints on each of the four fingers while using your thumb to count. In a way Zakir resembles a jazz improvisor. He starts out basic, then eventually all hell breaks loose. The violin repeats a pattern throughout the entire song while Zakir improvises for much of it.
The next song, Mattataal, is similar in that there is a repeating violin melody that Zakir improvises over. The tempo is quicker, because of the different subdivision of beats than in Teentaal. Rather than even subdivisions (eighth notes, quarter notes, etc) the rhythms are triplet based. Again, Zakir uses his incredible talent and also incorporates some Sollokattu (verbal rhythms) Cool stuff, you should definately check it out.

Dha tereketataka thum tereketaka

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