Ustaad Zakir Hussain unplugged in Singapore

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Ustaad Zakir Hussain is one of the most charismatic musicians of India. Once a musical prodigy, he started his musical journey at an early age with his father - the late Ustad Alla Rakha who, with Ravi Shankar, introduced Indian classical music to the West.

I had seen Ustaad Zakir Hussian acting in movies, or playing the tabla on TV, or promoting Taj Mahal tea in commercials. But nothing beats the experience of meeting the man in person.

January 8. Sunday. Noon. I reach the New Age Indigo Bar in Boat Quay braving the incessant rain. Singapore's trademark view of the central business district, with fabulous skyscrappers by the side of the Singapore River, looks like a cut-out from Roberto Rodriguez's Sin City. The touristy bum-boats are licking the riverfront, the river's huge belly unusually shorn of anything afloat. It's lunch time on a Sunday but the often-busy promenade, chock-a-block with restaurants offering all kinds of international cuisine, is empty like the mood-evoking scene of the wilderness from a Western. On his way to the Princeton University, where he is going to teach a survey course on music in the fall semester to the students of fine arts, Ustaad Zakir Hussain has stopped by at Singapore to talk to the media about his forthcoming concert.

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