Padma Bhushan (2001), the Padma Shri and
Ittawa gharana whose stalwarts can be traced back to Tansen of Akbar"s
court. He is one of most renowned sitar players of India. He occupies an
important place in the world of classical instrumental music also. Vilayat
Khan"s unique contribution to Indian classical music is the introduction of a
new style of sitar playing, now called Vilayatkhaani baaj. This is the gayaki
ang or full-fledged vocal style, which he innovated, perfected and passed on
to a school of disciples.
Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram affectionately known as Vikku, is
renowned for his beautiful drumming on the ghatam. Son of the noted and
talented musician and percussionist, Kalaimamani T.R. Harihara Sharma,
Vinayakram was a child sensation. He started his concert career at the tender
age of 13 and soon became renowned for his performance and deep
knowledge of rhythm. Vinayakram first became known in the West in the
mid-1970s as a member of the group Shakti, which consisted of the jazz
guitarist John McLaughlin, violinist L. Shankar, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain
and Vikku himself. The extraordinary speed and precision of his duets with
Zakir Hussain captivated international audiences. Vinayakram has a number
of titles and awards to his name. He is also the first South Indian artist to ever
receive a Grammy Award in 1991 for Best World Music Album for his
participation in Mickey Hart"s "Planet Drum" in which he played Ghatam and
Morsingh.
Zakir Hussain (b. 1951) is the undisputed reigning king of tabla players.
He is the son of renowned tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha. Ustad Zakir
Hussain played his first formal concert at the age of 12 years with Ustad Ali
Akbar Khan. He has composed the music for films like The Little Buddha of
Bernardo Bertolucci, Ismail Merchant’s In Custody and Heat and Dust,
Cappola’s Apocalypse Now, Merchant Ivory’s A Perfect Murder and for
some American television serials. Besides accompanying many Indian
classical musicians, Ustad Zakir Hussain plays with the Indo–jazz group
called Shakti. He has 145 albums to his credit and has been teaching tabla at
Washington, California, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Port and other
Universities. He has been conferred with several honours and awards that
included the Padma Shri (1988), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991)
and the Indo–American Award (1990).