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Ustad Zakir Hussain (b. 1951) is the reigning king of tabla players. He is the son of renowned tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha. He played his first formal concert at the age of 12 years with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He is internationally acclaimed for his ingenious techniques and dexterity. He has taken tabla playing to new and greater heights by rediscovering the subtle nuances of this instrument, along with his unique ability to communicate with his audience. He is also well versed with other percussion instruments like the dholak and khol. He has scored music for films like The Little Buddha of Bernardo Bertolucci, Ismail Merchant's In Custody and Heat and Dust, Cappola�s Apocalypse Now, Merchant Ivory's A Perfect Murder and for some American television serials. Besides accompanying many Indian classical musicians, Ustad Zakir Hussain plays with the Indo-jazz group called Shakti. He has played with the rock group called Grateful Dead and many jazz musicians. In 1973, he took over the Tal Vadya Rhythm Band, which later evolved into the Diga Rhythm Band, and more recently, Zakir Hussain and the Rhythm Experience. Zakir Hussain had teamed up with co-composers Philip Glass and Mickey Hart to write the score for the Atlanta Olympic Games, 1996. In 1987, his first solo release, "Making Music", was acclaimed "one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever recorded". He has 145 albums to his credit and is teaching tabla at Washington, California, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Port and other Universities.He is the recipient of several honours and awards, which include, Padma Shri (1988), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991) and the Indo-American Award (1990).