zakir hussain

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STEPHAN MICUS PROFILED (2013): Music of the spheres and beyond

STEPHAN MICUS PROFILED (2013): Music of the spheres and beyond

Take a deep breath because here’s a partial list of the instruments German multi-tasker Stephan Micus has played on recent albums: Bavarian zither, tin whistle, sattar, steel guitar, Japanese flute (shakuhachi), tuned flowerpots, Egyptian flute (nay), steel drums, Indian sarangi, dulcimer -- and lots I can’t even pretend to know...

Bapi Das Baul: Sufi Baul; Madness and Happiness (Arc)

Bapi Das Baul: Sufi Baul; Madness and Happiness (Arc)

Perhaps the only Sufi musician many are familiar with is the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but his uplifting, sky-scaling vocals and the joyous spiritual elevation of his music might recommend this one. Let's hope so. Bapi Das Baul is of the itinerant Baul tradition whose people follow a kind of divinely ecstatic madness and celebration of the...

Strike: Sketches (Strike)

Strike: Sketches (Strike)

Don't know about you, but just out of curiosity I'd listen to a piece of music which featured "water nipple gong". That particular instrument -- and I'm not going to ask further -- is but one in the battery of percussion played by the New Zealand ensemble Strike: water vibes, spoons, PVC pipes, various bowls and flower pots (in the...

From Scratch: Global Hockets (Scratch)

From Scratch: Global Hockets (Scratch)

From their origins on PVC pipes and Jandals, through the incorporation of voices and here with the German electronic group Supreme Particles, From Scratch's explorations of rigorous and mathematically determined rhythm patterns has always been worth following. And the computer-percussion interface here offers them a richness of sound they...

JACK BODY INTERVIEWED (2001): From street to string section

JACK BODY INTERVIEWED (2001): From street to string section

The music skitters off the disc as the Greek fiddle player takes to the tune at alarming speed, the notes slewing into each other. The piece is Horos Serra, recorded for a 1973 collection, and it captivated Wellington composer Jack Body so much that he transcribed it. No mean feat, given the density and difficulty of the piece which lasts a...

TRILOK GURTU INTERVIEWED (2000): Tabla time

TRILOK GURTU INTERVIEWED (2000): Tabla time

As the century closes it's interesting to look back on how the West has briefly adopted music from other cultures - Indian musics, for example. Where once these long traditions were confined to ethnomusicology departments of universities, they crept into Western consciousness through jazz musicians such as Jamaica-born British...

Kailash Kher and Kailasa: Yatra /Nomadic Souls (Cumbancha)

Kailash Kher and Kailasa: Yatra /Nomadic Souls (Cumbancha)

If the sound of Indian (Bollywood) playback singers or Indo-pop has never made much sense to you then you are directed to the thrilling soundtrack to the film Cash (video clip here) or maybe this very Western-framed album by one of the country's biggest stars. Kher has become something of singing superstar (it would be fair to observe...

Various: Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol II (Arc)

Various: Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol II (Arc)

With the recent appearance of Ravi Shankar (with his daughter Anoushka) at the arts festival in Wellington, there may be some interest in an album such as this: a well annotated double disc which includes the greatest names in Indian classical music, among them sitar player Shankar, the master of the shehnai (a brusque oboe-like instrument)...

Paban Das Baul: Music of the Honey Gatherers (World Music Network/Southbound)

Paban Das Baul: Music of the Honey Gatherers (World Music Network/Southbound)

The music of the itinerant Bauls of Bengal has only made a brief appearance at Elsewhere previously (the album by Bapi Das Baul here) but its uplifting spiritual quality in pop-sized bites (it is often improvised, but on CD nothing stretches much longer than Hey Jude or Stairway to Heaven) which makes it appealing on a number of fronts. Paban...

Joe Harriott: Gana (1967)

Joe Harriott: Gana (1967)

Alto saxophonist Joe Harriott was not the first to take inspiration from Indian classical music (John Coltrane had looked across to it previously) but -- with violinist and harpsichord player John Mayer -- he was among the very first to record with Indian musicians and effect some jazz fusion. Around the time George Harrison was looking at a...

RAVI SHANKAR (1920 - 2012): More Than One Lifetime

RAVI SHANKAR (1920 - 2012): More Than One Lifetime

My collection of schoolboy poetry which I would agonise over late at night, laboriously using my Scripto fountain pen and Radiant Blue ink, has long since vanished. Thank God. I’m sure it was full of adolescent anxieties -- one “poem” was about Oedipus, about whom I knew nothing other than I liked the name. But one piece...

Gabor Szabo: Jazz Raga (Light in the Attic)

Gabor Szabo: Jazz Raga (Light in the Attic)

Originally released in 1967 -- the Beatles' Norwegian Wood which used sitar was on Rubber Soul, released late '65, and folk guitarist Davy Graham employed Indian tunings prior to that -- this album by Hungarian-born US-based jazz guitarist Szabo saw him pick up sitar for a series of short pieces which explored the sound and possibilities of the...

BOB BROZMAN INTERVIEWED (2011) All the world's a stage, and he plays on it

BOB BROZMAN INTERVIEWED (2011) All the world's a stage, and he plays on it

American guitarist Bob Brozman must have an impressive passport. For the past two decades he has been almost itinerant as he has played across the planet from Hawaii to Mali, Okinawa to Papua New Guinea. And along the way he has collaborated with some exceptional musicians, among them Indian slide guitarist Debashish Battacharya for the...

RAJENDRA PRASANNA AND THE SPIRIT OF INDIA (2011): Family matters

RAJENDRA PRASANNA AND THE SPIRIT OF INDIA (2011): Family matters

In many ways, the Indian musician Rajendra Prasanna is an emblem of his country's classical tradition. As with so many Indian musicians, he grew up in the gurukal system where he was one of a long lineage who had been taught by their musician father who would pass on the knowledge acquired from the previous generation. Prasanna's father...

ZAKIR HUSSAIN INTERVIEWED (1999): Has tabla, will travel

ZAKIR HUSSAIN INTERVIEWED (1999): Has tabla, will travel

Early morning in Paris and the start of another long day for Zakir Hussain, master of the tabla drums and son of tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha. Hussain speaks of the previous day's programme: some showcase performances with guitarist John McLaughlin (with whom he co-founded the seminal Indo-jazz group Shakti in the mid 70s), CD signing...

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

As two Lennons and any number of Marleys might tell you, it isn’t easy carrying the name of a famous musician father, especially if you want a career in the business yourself. Certainly doors may open that otherwise wouldn’t -- but because of that critics and the public often treat your career with some scepticism, you have to...

Charles Lloyd: Sangam (ECM/Ode)

Charles Lloyd: Sangam (ECM/Ode)

The return of saxophonist Charles Lloyd to the frontline in the early 90s after almost two decades away has been one of the most enjoyable in jazz.  If you want to hear downright beautiful and emotionally engaging jazz albums which are seductive rather than confrontational then you can't go past the Lloyd albums of the past decade,...

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Three years ago I chose the Mahima album by Bhattacharya and American guitarist Bob Brozman (who played at Womad that year) as one of the best of the year in the Herald with the comment that their musical dialogues referred to Africa, Spain, simple pop and something which sounded like an arranged marriage between Waikiki and Varanasi. As a...

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