Zakir Hussain’s ‘Masters of Percussion’ to carry out at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Live performance Corridor

Zakir Hussain’s ‘Masters of Percussion’ to carry out at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Live performance Corridor
Zakir Hussain’s ‘Masters of Percussion’ to carry out at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Live performance Corridor

This 12 months’s “Masters of Percussion” contains (left to proper) Navin Sharma, Tupac Mantilla, Mélissa Hié, Sabir Khan and Zakir Hussain. The ensemble will carry out at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Live performance Corridor on March 21, 2023.

Courtesy of Susana Millman

For Grammy-winning percussionist Zakir Hussain, Portland is a stark reminder of the ability the mountains maintain.

“It’s the place I go to Mom Nature and bow to her associates, her power and her tolerance of people who’re messing along with her,” Hussain says. Like a pilgrim making a holy pilgrimage executed every year, the Indian tabla virtuoso has visited the area for the previous 4 a long time, both as a part of excursions or to reconnect together with his associates or a busy mixture of each.

This 12 months isn’t any totally different.

Zakir Hussain can be bringing his critically-acclaimed “Masters of Percussion” tour to Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Live performance Corridor on Tuesday. Attendees can’t solely anticipate musicians seamlessly mixing rhythms and melodies collectively through the present, but additionally a musical dialog that introduces new percussionist forces.

“Masters of Percussion,” which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, is understood for its ever-changing lineup – Hussain is adamant about showcasing drumming traditions from all the world over.

This 12 months’s ensemble contains Colombian-born percussionist Tupac Mantilla, sarangi artist Sabir Khan, dholak participant Navin Sharma and drumming grasp Mélissa Hié.

The tabla, sarangi and dholak is probably not acquainted to Western percussionists, but every is core to the worldwide musical traditions on the coronary heart of Hussain’s decades-long undertaking.

Hussain has carried out alongside girls musicians earlier than as a part of unbiased excursions, however Hié is the primary lady to be part of the “Masters of Percussion” ensemble because the group’s inception within the Eighties. “It’s nice to lastly showcase a feminine grasp drummer, and from what chances are you’ll name the cradle of drumming or rhythms. It’s firmly believed by every one that rhythms originated in Africa,” says Hussain. “To have her symbolize that a part of the world the place rhythms got here from and to have her play with us is actually nice.”

However why did it take so lengthy so as to add a girl to the five-person ensemble?

The 72-year-old musician strongly emphasizes that he doesn’t classify performers by gender. Slightly, it’s a query of discovering somebody who matches within the grander scheme of issues.

“To have the ability to discover a percussionist from a non-Indian custom who’s across the similar wavelength, has the same concept of what rhythms are all about and isn’t in any means hesitant to have the ability to combine it up on stage with different genres of rhythms. … It’s not that simple.”

Hussain discovered the spark he was searching for in Hié.

Nonetheless, that spark isn’t instantaneous as most would assume. It’s a sluggish bloom that entails assembly households, elevating conversations and unraveling a number of layers of friendship one jam session at a time. And this normally takes at the least about 12 months. “That’s why ‘Masters of Percussion’ occurs each different 12 months as a result of we spend a 12 months doing analysis and attending to know one another… till we get to a degree the place we actually really feel comfy with one another and really feel assured that we are able to get on stage and do some harm,” Hussain says.

Every time Hussain went to Europe, he met with Hié in Paris over French meals, and they might discuss rhythms.

When he was not in Paris, the dialog continued over Zoom.

When he lastly obtained to the purpose of enjoying with Hié, he knew she’d be the proper match. It was throughout these classes that Hussain knew that this was going to be the following mixture for “Masters of Percussion.”

Hussain additionally believes {that a} live performance’s success is contingent on the temper of the instrument. In easy phrases, Hussain says, his tabla is his greatest pal.

“If a live performance is successful, a big a part of it’s as a result of the spirit inside that instrument, my mate, was in a great temper,” he says. “You by no means know what’s going to occur.”

With one other pilgrimage to Portland quick approaching, Hussain believes his tabla is keen, prepared and desperate to carry out.