Ustad Zakir Hussain is a famous tabla artist and one of the leading percussionists of India at present. He is equally popular as a musical producer, film actor and music composer. He received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1990, Padma Shri in 1988, and Padma Bhushan in 2002. He was awarded United States National Endowment for the Arts's National Heritage Fellowship, the highest award given to traditional artists and musicians in the year 1999. He regularly features in many television ads, Taj Mahal tea being one of the popular brands.
He was born in Mumbai on 9 March 1951 as the son of legendary tabla player Alla Rakha. He did his schooling from St. Michael's High School in Mahim, and graduated from St. Xaviers, Mumbai. Hussain was a child prodigy and began his musical career at a younger age of 12. His international career began in the year 1970. Hussain is a founding member of Bill Laswell's 'World Music Supergroup' Tabla Beat Science. His first Planet Drum album, released in 1991 received Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in the year 1992, the first award given in this category. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with many international artists also. The album titled, Global Drum Project was a collaboration of Hussain with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo which won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album in 2009.
He composed music of National award winning Malayalam film Vanaprastham, in which he acted also. This movie was shown in several international film festivals and won many awards and nominations. In Custody and The Mystic Masseur are other movies for which he composed music. He has also played tabla for a few movies. Zakir is married to famous Kathak artist, Antonia Minnecola.
Updated: March 18, 2014