Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and sitar maestro Niladri Kumar are collaborating with Grammy Award winner Mickey Hart for their concert tour in the US.

The duo is performing from East Coast to the West Coast with the one-month long tour which started on October 1. Hart will join them in a first of its kind Indian classical tour featuring the tabla and the sitar for the Berkeley Concert on October 26, read a statement.

Hussain — who has collaborated with musicians as diverse as John McLaughlin, Hart and Bill Laswell on a plethora of genre-defying fusion projects since the 1970s — is impressed with Kumar’s talent.

“What I’ve been trying to do over the past many years is bring attention to the strength of Indian traditional music. The concert will explore both ancient and cutting-edge Indian music. Indian music begins with Ravi Shankar (late sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar) and ends with Ravi Shankar,” Hussain said.

He added: “Not much attention has been paid to the bench strength of Indian music. People should not think of Indian music as just Ravi Shankar and nothing else; that’s not really the case, and there are these great young guys who play so well and should get out there and be seen. What I’ve been trying to do over the past many years is bring attention to the strength of Indian traditional music.”

The internationally celebrated musician, who started touring when he was all of 12, asserted “Niladri Kumar, in the opinion of many of the master musicians today, is the Ravi Shankar of tomorrow”.

“As a young man, he has shown incredible spark and spontaneity and creativity and great musicality, so it was time to take him on the road and show him off. He has since become accepted as one of the young masters of the sitar, and has been slated as someone who would be looked at as a future grand master of the sitar,” he said.

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