Tabla concerti are certainly a growing body of work, approached from both sides by Western composers and Hindustani tabla players alike. But a concerto conceived by the top name in tabla performance, Zakir Hussain, promises to be a breed apart.
“It’s very easy to go one way or the other,” says composer Dinuk Wijeratne, in regards to Indian and Western musical styles. “But it takes a huge amount of work to find what I call the ‘third solution’, where both traditions are respected and the result is something that is hopefully greater than the sum of its parts,”
In its article about Peshkar, Times of India asks the important question: “Why create fusion when the two traditions, by themselves, are vast and rich?” The answer, they assert, may lie in the effort to bridge their different philosophies. “It is no coincidence that as the 20th century wore on and the dichotomy of Eastern and Western societies as ‘contemplative’ and ‘practical’ started disappearing, more experiments in fusion started being done.”
Hussain says of his new work Peshkar, “The tabla is not a melodic instrument, though there’s pitch in the right drum. So it’s not got melody that someone can hum. It is pulse, suggestion, colour and points of sound.”
Conductor Zane Dalal led the Symphony Orchestra of India in the world premiere of Zakir Hussain’s tabla concerto, Peshkar, at the NCPA, Mumbai, on September 25, 2015, with future performances in Europe coming up this season.
The full article is incredible, and raises some very thought-provoking questions about Indian/Western crossover music. Read it here.