Indian classical music superstars visit Birmingham Conservatory

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Zakir Hussain and Jaspreet Singh at the Royal Birmingham Conservatory. Credit: Jas Sansi for BCU

Tabla supremo Zakir Hussain, acclaimed singer-songwriter Shankar Mahadevan, leading flautist Rakesh Chaurasia and legendary keyboardist and producer Louiz Banks shared tips with students at the world-renowned music center.

They also met Indian Consul General Dr Shashank Vikram and MP Preet Kaur Gill as part of the visit organized by BCU India and West Midlands India Partnership.

Shyam Naban, Director of the West Midlands India Partnership, said: “We are delighted to support the development of cultural and artistic links between the West Midlands region and India through interactions with global Indian maestros.

“We will continue to connect our Board members with esteemed organizations in India as part of our strategy to strengthen relationships as we celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and ‘India at 75’. This year.”

The artists are known to hundreds of millions of fans, both in their home country and around the world.

Zakir Hussain, who alongside his late father Ustad Alla Rakha was largely responsible for popularizing tabla with Western audiences throughout the 1970s and 1980s, is a virtuoso musician who gave his first concert at age seven years old and was on tour with the late sitar maestro Ravi. Shankar in the United States at age 11.

The musician has also recorded and performed with many notable western musicians including George Harrison and Van Morrison.

Jaspreet Singh, PhD student at Birmingham City University, said: “It was a great experience to finally meet Zakir Hussain.

“As a child, I used to read about her in our general knowledge book. Being Kirtania – a person who sings sacred hymns and plays a traditional stringed instrument, it was very inspiring to meet and to have a conversation with the best tabla player on the planet.”

The Four Aces, featuring Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Rakesh Chaurasia and Louiz Banks, next performed at Symphony Hall on Friday February 11.

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