Southampton, one of eight cities selected to compete for the title of UK City of Culture 2025, will present a rare concert by India’s most celebrated living musician, Zakir Hussain, on Monday 22 November at the city’s state of the art performing arts centre, MAST Mayflower Studios. Zakir Hussain’s spectacular tabla playing is one of the great sounds in music today – a virtuoso at the very height of his creative powers. He is now widely regarded as the world’s best tabla player.  

A child prodigy, Zakir was touring by the age of twelve. He went to the United States in 1970, embarking on an international career which includes no fewer than 150 concert dates a year. In 2007, the government of India chose Zakir to compose an anthem to celebrate the 60th anniversary of India’s independence. The song, Jai Hind, has been recorded by an array of India’s finest classical vocalists and pop singers. He co-composed the opening music for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His close association with dance includes scores for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Mark Morris Dance Group among others. He has composed soundtracks for the films In Custody and The Mystic Masseur directed by Ismail Merchant, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha (for which Zakir composed, performed and acted as Indian music advisor), and acclaimed Indian director, Shaji N Karun’s Vanaprastham (The Last Dance), which was chosen to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999. 

This special concert is presented jointly by Southampton UK City of Culture 2025 bid, Art Asia and MAST Mayflower Studios, celebrating Art Asia’s 40th anniversary and Southampton’s vibrant South Asian community. 

Claire Whitaker, Bid Director, Southampton UK City of Culture 2025, said: “Southampton is a global city.  We are proud that Zakir Hussain has accepted our invitation to perform in our city,  a city which a richly diverse community  calls home. In particular on this occasion we are celebrating the inspiration and influence of South Asian culture in our community.” 

22 November 7.30 pm 

Zakir Hussain, Tabla
Marcus Gilmore, Drums
Abbos Kosimov, Doyra and Uzbek Percussion
Sabir Khan, Sarangi 

MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton