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30 review for Zakir Hussain: A Life in Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    A Man Called Ove

    Nasreen Munni Kabir's book-length interviews/conversations with Bollywood personalities have been delightful reads for me earlier. I have read 4 by her earlier and this was the only one pending and so went for it. Afterall, Zakir Hussain is a well-known name in classical music in India. On the positive side, the scene of Indian classical music in the 20th century has been described well. The life of the musicians, their rivalries, their relationship with Bollywood, the makings of a concert have a Nasreen Munni Kabir's book-length interviews/conversations with Bollywood personalities have been delightful reads for me earlier. I have read 4 by her earlier and this was the only one pending and so went for it. Afterall, Zakir Hussain is a well-known name in classical music in India. On the positive side, the scene of Indian classical music in the 20th century has been described well. The life of the musicians, their rivalries, their relationship with Bollywood, the makings of a concert have all been covered in some depth. Alongwith Zakir Saab's comments on a no. of issues, they made for interesting reading. I learnt playing Tabla for one and a half years as a teenager. And for a short period a few years ago, I tried listening to Indian classical music - instrumentals and some fusion as I love the sound of guitar. Unfortunately, I couldnt appreciate it despite my basic training. And Unfortunately again, I couldnt understand the technical details of the music described in d book. If you are trained in classical music you will enjoy this much more. Also felt that the details of his life got a little repetitive.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ashma

    NMK's conversation feels like you're one of the production crew, sitting cross-legged on the floor and listening to these two people talking and getting fascinated by every bit. "Success is not how many Grammys you win or how many platinum records you have. Success is standing tall behind something and saying- this is what I wanted." Zakir Hussain, "that curly haired guy from Brooke Bond Taj Mahal tea advertisement" is a musical genius! The name "Zakir Hussain" itself has an interesting story. Thi NMK's conversation feels like you're one of the production crew, sitting cross-legged on the floor and listening to these two people talking and getting fascinated by every bit. "Success is not how many Grammys you win or how many platinum records you have. Success is standing tall behind something and saying- this is what I wanted." Zakir Hussain, "that curly haired guy from Brooke Bond Taj Mahal tea advertisement" is a musical genius! The name "Zakir Hussain" itself has an interesting story. This book shows that in spite of all the name and fame, all he knows is humility because music is not something sacred he learned, it was Incorporated in him as a daily-normal activity which connected with his soul. Quite a journey!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hrishikesh

    I've had plenty of bad experiences with books that are biographical, or are in the format of an interview, or deal with music. The subject-matter of these three genre are profound enough; it's just that it takes a rare talent to pen a book on these subjects. The last such book that I read, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saab's "Master on Masters" left me several disappointed. As a result, I am quite wary. "Zakir Hussain: A Life" meets the requirements of all three categories about which I am apprehensive. I've had plenty of bad experiences with books that are biographical, or are in the format of an interview, or deal with music. The subject-matter of these three genre are profound enough; it's just that it takes a rare talent to pen a book on these subjects. The last such book that I read, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saab's "Master on Masters" left me several disappointed. As a result, I am quite wary. "Zakir Hussain: A Life" meets the requirements of all three categories about which I am apprehensive. I am happy to report that this apprehension has been misplaced and that this book is a fantastic read. Clearly, the interviewer did their research properly and had great clarity about the direction the discussion was to take. Personally, I found that this book had much to offer to my individual taste. The book is filled with plenty of anecdotes about the legends of Hindustani Music; a natural outcome of the vantage point that Ustad Zakir Hussain had since birth. It also discusses at length the maestro's view about music - both Indian and Global. But the book goes a step ahead. It also discusses Zakir Hussain's views about a variety of subjects - the pursuit of excellence, dealing with "greatness" and "failure", the meditative experience of working hard, the "spark" that must be present naturally for "genius" to be attained, and how to reconcile temporal pursuits with eternal ones. What was so striking about Ustadji's views was that they resolved the paradox between greatness and simplicity. An entirely satisfying read. Recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ramachandra Bhakta

    An absolute delight for Tabla learners and Zakir Hussain fans. The book is in the form of a conversation between Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ms. Nasreen Munni Kabir, which makes it more involving and authentic as the subject of the Book is himself involved in the narration. The Book is of high value not just for the pictures and anecdotes that it contains, but also because it gives an insight into the work culture, values and and mindset of one of the greatest drummers of all the times. Great read and An absolute delight for Tabla learners and Zakir Hussain fans. The book is in the form of a conversation between Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ms. Nasreen Munni Kabir, which makes it more involving and authentic as the subject of the Book is himself involved in the narration. The Book is of high value not just for the pictures and anecdotes that it contains, but also because it gives an insight into the work culture, values and and mindset of one of the greatest drummers of all the times. Great read and recommended for Hindustani Classical Music fans and Indian music lovers overall.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vikas

    This was my very first book in conversational style and I am lucky that I picked this one. Ustad Zakir Hussain is already a legend and to read about him in and his thoughts in his own words was a pure delight. I also did a wonderful experiment when I was about half way through the book. I started and listened to different compositions by the Ustad till I finished the book. This elevated the experience for me. I am struck by Ustad's memory and the skill to remember so many names and details it was This was my very first book in conversational style and I am lucky that I picked this one. Ustad Zakir Hussain is already a legend and to read about him in and his thoughts in his own words was a pure delight. I also did a wonderful experiment when I was about half way through the book. I started and listened to different compositions by the Ustad till I finished the book. This elevated the experience for me. I am struck by Ustad's memory and the skill to remember so many names and details it was truly awesome. It was very nicely put together book and Ms. Nasreen Munni Kabir had done her homework properly. This was a wonderful book. I am happy to read this. Yes you should also give it a chance and hopefully you will also find it as good as I did and try to listen to Ustad when reading it and once you finish it then Keep on Reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    অভিজিৎ

    "Success is not how many Grammys you win or how many platinum records you have. Success is standing tall behind something and saying- this is what I wanted." -Zakir Hussain. I think this is where most of us practicing art forms lose ourselves. We forget that the art shall be something through which we can express ourselves and our ideas about life. "Success is not how many Grammys you win or how many platinum records you have. Success is standing tall behind something and saying- this is what I wanted." -Zakir Hussain. I think this is where most of us practicing art forms lose ourselves. We forget that the art shall be something through which we can express ourselves and our ideas about life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vaibhav Jain

    Conversational and experiential snippets from Zakir Hussain himself on his life journey from Mahim (Bombay, where he was born) to Marin (California, where he currently lives). A great story of very humble roots making it big on international scene purely because of his hardwork and dedication to his art. He is one of the very few artist who has managed to keep his personal style and elegance intact. Signs of very evolved personalities who are incredibly agile in adjusting to the changing times a Conversational and experiential snippets from Zakir Hussain himself on his life journey from Mahim (Bombay, where he was born) to Marin (California, where he currently lives). A great story of very humble roots making it big on international scene purely because of his hardwork and dedication to his art. He is one of the very few artist who has managed to keep his personal style and elegance intact. Signs of very evolved personalities who are incredibly agile in adjusting to the changing times and growing their art along with it (vs sticking to set ideas/ cultural norms). I have been lucky to attend some of his concerts in Berkeley and San Francisco. The concerts are always sold out and great musical experiences. His father Allah Rakha Khan was also a well renowned tabla maestro of his own times (1950s/60s), a common theme for many Indian artists who have taken their existing parental legacy to new heights. Along with his father’s contemporaries - Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan and Pt. Chitresh Das, Zakir Husain introduced and established Indian classical music and art to the west in 1960s. Most of these Indian artists arrived in California in 1960s almost in the same decade when hippie movement was at it’s peak in America and counter-culture was evolving. They all grew up in India, mentored under very well known names, were devoted deeply to their art and leveraged western style to pitch themselves at the global level. Inspiring to see these artists bridging geographical and generational boundaries through their passion for music and art. #WahUstaadWah #ZaakirHussain #NasreenMunniKabir #SanAnselmo #Tabla #IndianClassicalMusic #MahimtoMarin #ArtVsScience

  8. 4 out of 5

    Soumya Banerji

    A vert engaging conversation between the author and Zakir Hussein. The questions posed by the author are quite interesting and cover a wide variety of topics. The only quibble I have is that she does not ask him about the different gharanas and their differences. The questions do not follow any chronological sequence and that makes the conversation seem very spontaneous.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vikram Mukherjee

    This book when released in 2019 really sparked my interest as a Tabla Player and as a fan of Ustad Zakir Hussainji. Seeing the interview which was done between Zakirji, Nasreenji and Bikram Ghosh (a tabla player of Kolkata) at the literary fest is a must- do for this book! Beyond the hype, I thought that Nasreenji focused a lot on Zakirji's involvement with Bollywood and Urdu. While I didn't know Zakirji was very big into Urdu Shyaari and Lyricism, I thought that after a while it became very rep This book when released in 2019 really sparked my interest as a Tabla Player and as a fan of Ustad Zakir Hussainji. Seeing the interview which was done between Zakirji, Nasreenji and Bikram Ghosh (a tabla player of Kolkata) at the literary fest is a must- do for this book! Beyond the hype, I thought that Nasreenji focused a lot on Zakirji's involvement with Bollywood and Urdu. While I didn't know Zakirji was very big into Urdu Shyaari and Lyricism, I thought that after a while it became very repetitive and not really what I wanted to learn. Aspects that I thought were especially interesting and appreciated about this book was Zakirji's relationship with Abbaji, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ut. Ali Akbar Khan Saheb etc. these were both insightful and inspiring. I would have liked to know more specifically and specific interactions that Zakirji had with musicians as well as his adventures outside of India and immigrating to America, meeting his wife, being a father etc. Overall, a great read for any avid music fan!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ranju

    Nasreen's conversation with Gulzar was my first encounter with her. Reading this conversation with Zakir Hussain now, I believe I have come out with a richer understanding of music and instruments. That being said, this book isn't about music but about Zakir. I got a feeling of listening to a soul nurturing and life enriching conversation reading this book. This only happens if the interviewee happens to have reflected and formed a coherent idea of their philosophy and approach towards life and t Nasreen's conversation with Gulzar was my first encounter with her. Reading this conversation with Zakir Hussain now, I believe I have come out with a richer understanding of music and instruments. That being said, this book isn't about music but about Zakir. I got a feeling of listening to a soul nurturing and life enriching conversation reading this book. This only happens if the interviewee happens to have reflected and formed a coherent idea of their philosophy and approach towards life and their craft. Zakir knows where he wants to be and how he arrived where he is. Mostly, I enjoyed the calm vibe of this book. Nasreen mentions this in the book as well. When she rushed at any point, Zakir made her slow down and let the conversation unfold. That is probably why I could pick this book up at 3 am in the morning when I couldn't fall asleep and read. This book took me longer to read. For a barely 178 pages conversations, it took me almost two weeks to finish this. Zakir's approach to life and relationships, and understanding of music are simple yet profound. You can't help but take some of these insights to apply to your own life. At the end of this reading experience, I was left with a desire to write a similar book for Nepali audience.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aarshin Karande

    Though too brief for my indulgence, this conversational autobiography of Zakir Hussain does a wonderful job of capturing the world surrounding the subject and his sense of his place in it. Rare in that you are exposed to the intimate paradigms that a biographic subject wields to navigate his life and work, this book provides profound insights for any practitioner of music - particularly of the Indian traditions - who wishes to elevate himself, his world, and his art through "finding" music. Though too brief for my indulgence, this conversational autobiography of Zakir Hussain does a wonderful job of capturing the world surrounding the subject and his sense of his place in it. Rare in that you are exposed to the intimate paradigms that a biographic subject wields to navigate his life and work, this book provides profound insights for any practitioner of music - particularly of the Indian traditions - who wishes to elevate himself, his world, and his art through "finding" music.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anurag Dwivedi

    One of the best (auto)biographies I have read till now. Written in a unique way as compared to other biographies. You read and feel a biography from the lens of someone else, but this book gives you opportunity to hear Zakir's story in his own words and probably in his own voice :p.. worth a read!! One of the best (auto)biographies I have read till now. Written in a unique way as compared to other biographies. You read and feel a biography from the lens of someone else, but this book gives you opportunity to hear Zakir's story in his own words and probably in his own voice :p.. worth a read!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pranav Mathur

    Wonderful and eloquent book on Ustad Zakir Hussain. It was a pleasure reading this amazing book. Ustadji has had a spectacular life which is evident from the brilliant narrative by him in this book. Thanks to Nasreen Munni Kabir for such an amazing book!!!! I would recommend it to everyone who wants to know about Ustad Zakir Hussain, the legendary maestro of the Tabla.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Priyankar Sarkar

    This conversation with Ustadji shows the tough childhood that he has had. There are quite a few things I got to know about him as well other Indian classical musicians. Overall it is a quick and easy read about a great percussionist!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anand HS

    It is a great insight into the life of the Maestro. A very realistic behind the scenes look into the long and not so easy journey of going from Ustad Allarakha's Son to Ustad Zakir Hussain. Very inspiring. It is a great insight into the life of the Maestro. A very realistic behind the scenes look into the long and not so easy journey of going from Ustad Allarakha's Son to Ustad Zakir Hussain. Very inspiring.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amina Ahsan

    What an amazing life !!! In Awe

  17. 4 out of 5

    parttimereader

    loved the question and answer format.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Harsha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashita

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rohit Kaliyar

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shubham Mittal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aditya

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vaibhav Dewangan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ankush

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zmandrekar

  26. 4 out of 5

    Koushik

  27. 5 out of 5

    Soniya

  28. 5 out of 5

    Philip Mathew

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vijay Akhade

  30. 5 out of 5

    Upendra Bapat

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