Zakir Hussain was born on March 9, 1951 in Mumbai to well-known tabla player Ustad Alla Rakha. A child prodigy, Zakir was touring by the age of twelve. Zakir went to the United States in 1970, embarking on an international career which includes no fewer than 150 concert dates a year. As a child also, he became famous.
Zakir Hussain attended St. Michael's High School in Mahim, and graduated from St. Xavier's, Mumbai. As he took his plunge into the career of music he got great success. He composed, directed and recorded numerous song-tracks and got huge recognition.
Zakir Hussain composed music tracks from several films namely Custody and The Mystic Masseur, Bernardo Bertoluccis Little Buddha (for which Zakir composed, performed and acted as Indian music advisor), Vanaprastham (The Last Dance), Saaz, and Everybody Says I'm Fine. He even acted in the film Saaz. He starred in several films specifically showcasing his musical performance both solo and with different bands, including the 1998 documentary "Zakir and His Friends" and the documentary "The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum", Merchant Ivory Film Heat and Dust in 1983, for which he was an associate music director.
Awards and recognition
He has won countless awards in his career till date and who knows how many more are to come. He won India’s highest civilian awards like Padma Shri in 1988, and Padma Bhushan in 2002, becoming the youngest percussionist to be awarded these titles. He was awarded the Indo-American Award in 1990 in recognition for his outstanding cultural contribution to relations between the United States and India. He was also conferred with Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama. In 1992 Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Hussain and Mickey Hart, was awarded the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album, He received 1999 National Heritage Fellowship of National Endowment for the Arts, the United States’ most prestigious honour for a master in the traditional arts. He is the recipient of the prestigious Kalidas Samman in 2006, an award for artists of exceptional achievement, from the government of Madhya Pradesh. Another awards include nomination for a Grammy in the Best Traditional World Music Album category in 2006, nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional World Music Album category by Modern Drummer and Drum! Magazine respectively. He was also honoured with Grammy in the Contemporary World Music Album category for his collaborative album "Global Drum Project". Latest award that he has won in the year 2012 is Lifetime Achievement Award at Konark Dance and Music Festival.