Tabla player's main job is to be an accompanist: Zakir Hussain

Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain has said the primary job of a percussionist is to accompany the vocalist.

No matter how well known he is, when a tabla player is set to perform with a classical musician or a singer, he has to be his "subordinate", Hussain said during a discussion yesterday at Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here.

"My job will be to help him (vocalist), accompany him, and play with him. For a tabla player to be in that situation is something very normal, not a stigma of any kind," the 66-year old Padma Bhushan recipient said.

Asked if classical scores are losing out to Bollywood numbers, Hussain said Indian classical music, in his view, has grown popular over the years.

"If you talk about mass form of entertainment and films, the popular music audience has grown 200 per cent. Then again, even a few years back, only 40-50 people were found sitting inside a room to enjoy Indian classical music, now the number has risen to 10,000-20,000," he said.

Hussain said classical musicians, who compare their popularity with that of Bollywood singers, are suffering from "vanity and ego" issues.

"They forget what they are representing. Chamber music is an art form best enjoyed in a 'baithak'. That's where it really blossoms, it really thrives," he said.

He said Indian classical music has a bright future and that youngsters form a major chunk of the audience that attends his concerts.

"Musicians today grow up learning Indian classical music traditions as well as world traditions. He is equally comfortable in any genre of music. We did not have similar exposure in our days," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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