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Concert celebrates rhythms of world

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OGDEN — There was an Earth Day celebration Tuesday night when a sold-out audience packed Peery's Egyptian Theater to hear the rhythms of the world by Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion.

The nearly three-hour show featured some of the best Indian musicmakers. In addition to the percussionists — Hussain, Vijay Chauhan, Fazal Qureshi, Taufiq Qureshi, Abbos Kosimov, Ram Kishan and the Meitei Pung Cholom Performing Troupe — there was Niladri Kumar on the sitar and Dilshad Khan on the sarangi, a bowed instrument that added exotic melodies to the evening's presentation.

Kishan was the first to take the stage. The elder statesman set the tone with a rousing solo on his nagara drum.

After a haunting sarangi solo by Khan, Hussain and his younger brother, Fazal Qureshi, took to their tabla finger drums and had a jam session with Khan. At times the finger-tapping and drum head-bending notes sounded like people talking, or arguing, as Hussain explained.

"I am speaking tabla language," Hussain said as he sounded out the rhythms with his voice.

During another section, Hussain's other brother ,Taufiq Qureshi — who played an array of instruments including the timbales, bongos and African djembe — voiced more rhythms and even got multidimensional with meditative throat singing, which was developed in the little country of Tuva.

Kosimov showed his dexterity by juggling three flat hand drums called doyras for a few numbers before Hussain and Fazal Qureshi joined Kumar for a rousing medley that included the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood."

One of the highlights was the Meitei Pung Cholom Performing Troupe. The three percussionists not only pounded out ritualistic beats but also showed off some martial artistic choreography as well.

Not to be left out was Chauhan, who opened the second half of the night with a piercing folk and talk-drum solo.

The evening ended with a group jam that served as a recap of each of the ensemble members.

Hussain told the Deseret News last week the percussionists and musicians all speak a different dialect and "the main method they use to communicate is through the music."

That was conveyed Tuesday night. And throughout the performance, the unification and edification of the audience members and the performing artists came to a head as the concert became more like a celebration.

E-mail: scott@desnews.com