City Paper is not for tourists
Mumbai-born tabla drummer Zakir Hussain is best known in the U.S. for his multicultural collaborations—with George Harrison, Herbie Hancock, and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, as well as his contributions to the Apocalypse Now soundtrack and the opening ceremony of the 1996 Olympics. But Hussain’s finest barehanded rhythmic efforts are found on compositions that reflect the breadth of Indian classical music. Hussain first learned his country’s music from his father, Alla Rakha, a tabla player who accompanied Ravi Shankar. Hussain presents his current interpretation of that cultural heritage live with his group, Masters of Percussion. Don’t let its name fool you: While it does include four percussionists in addition to Hussain, the ensemble also features musicians on stringed instruments like the sitar and sarangi, and a Kathak-style dancer. Together it will convey the rollercoaster feel of Indian music by speeding up and slowing down tempos, as well as capturing its more calming, orchestral feel. Propelling the band through it all is Hussain, a professional musician since age 12, who masterfully varies his hand speed and pressure on his two drums. Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion perform at 1 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. $25–$65. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.