Here's good news for those keen to enjoy a soulful evening in the company of legendary classical musicians. February will bring one such opportunity, where renowned sitarist Ustad Shujaat Khan and acclaimed tabla player Ustad Zakir Hussain will perform live in New Delhi. In conversation with The Week, Ustad Shujaat Khan talks about the concert.
ExcerptsTell us about your association with Ustad Zakir Hussain
My association with Zakir Hussain goes back to our childhood. Our fathers were great friends and performed many concerts together. We started performing together when I was very young. It is really long family connection, and of course musical connection.
What can the audience expect from the concert on February 13?
Expectations are high when artists like Zakir Hussain and I perform together. When we come together, there is a certain chemistry that people can get to see.
How has the music industry transformed in the last one decade?
I don’t think there is a different kind of transformation. It is constantly evolving, getting new ideas. Traditional music will always stay traditional; there is that space within which music has to remain and develop.
You were nominated for Grammy award. How did life change after that?
Life changes only for a short while, it is not a permanent excitement. If I ask you who won Padma Shri or Grammy, you won't even remember. But it is an amazing feeling when you get that big space in your life. But we have to go forward. We can't keep living in that space for the rest of our lives.
What do you think about today's musicians and artists fusing old songs?
Oh wonderful. What today’s musicians are doing is just perfect. One must do what they feel and love it when it comes to passion.
What tips would you like to give today's musicians?
I am not qualified to give tips to people. In my opinion, building a successful career as an artist takes a lot of time and hard work. If there’s one common trait I’ve seen among successful people, its hard work and dedication, it’s that they aren’t afraid to work. Successful people are dedicated to their creative efforts. A lot of physical, mental emotional commitment is needed, because otherwise you will always remain mediocre.
Do you prefer classical music or western music?
For me, it is obviously classical. Classical music still has the charm as we have great music festivals happening around the world, even today. There are people who take time off to attend classical concerts. There are still many youngsters who are interested in classical concerts. So, I believe that classical music is still alive and well.
How can today's youngsters draw interest towards classical music?
There is no need for us to force young people to listen to our music, it is completely up to them. If they feel there is a deeper message in our music, they are always welcome to enjoy our music. Music survives millions of years whether people are engaged in it or not. I think we have enough interest, lots of young people are interested in classical concerts.