University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives concert recordings: Mohammad Omar & Zakir Hussain, 1974-11-18  PDF

Overview of the Collection

University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives
University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives concert recordings: Mohammad Omar & Zakir Hussain
2 items  :  OT-2 reels (7.5 ips, 2 tr., stereo, 7"); CD - 2 CD-Rs (digital, stereo, 44.1 kHz sampling rate).; Duration: 1:17:17
Collection Number
Recorded at the University of Washington, Kane Hall, Roethke Auditorium, 11/18/74.
University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives
University of Washington
Ethnomusicology Archives
Box 353450
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-0974
Access Restrictions

Access is restricted.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Ustad Mohammad Omar was(b Kabul, 1905; d Kabul, 1980) a Afghan rubāb player and composer . His father, Mohammad Ibrahīm, was a professional player of the rubāb (short-necked lute) and the tabla. Mohammad Omar received a basic training in the rubāb, but initially set out to be a singer, training in ghazal and rāga singing with Aghā Mohammad, the son-in-law of Ustād Qasem. Owing to illness (probably tuberculosis) he decided to give up singing and specialize in playing the rubāb, the double-chested plucked lute which is the national instrument. He became the principal rubāb player at Radio Afghanistan and the leader of various ensembles, and he also composed many instrumental sections (naghma) for popular songs and light instrumental pieces for small radio ensembles. In 1949 he was given the title of Ustād. He was recognized as a gifted teacher, and over the years was involved in a number of music education schemes. In 1974 he spent three months at the University of Washington, Seattle, as artist in residence.

He excelled at the rubāb but nevertheless sometimes used to complain from the point of view of a vocalist about its narrow ambitus (effectively one and a half octaves) and limitations for microtonal inflections and ornamentation. He made certain technical innovations, favouring a very large instrument, and modifying the bridge to raise the shortest sympathetic string so it could be used as a high drone. One of the best known and highly esteemed of Afghan musicians, his rubāb was the distinctive voice of Afghanistan as received by the radio audience.

- Grove Music Online, Abdul-Wahab Madadi and John Baily

(b Bombay [now Mumbai], India, March 9, 1951). Percussionist and tabla player of Indian birth. Hussain began studying music at the age of three with his father, the late Ustad Alla Rakha. He presented his debut performance in Bombay at age 15, providing tabla accompaniment for the master of the Indian santur, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. Hussain's rise to fame was rapid and sustained, leading to international renown after he traveled to the United States in 1970. His first US public performance came as accompanist to Pandit Ravi Shankar. By age 20 he had become one of the most sought-after tabla accompanists; his virtuosic playing also led to collaborations with popular musicians such as drummer Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead and guitarist John MacLaughlin, whose Mahavishnu Orchestra had fused elements of Indian classical music with rock and jazz. Hussain stands out for his work in creating fusions of Indian music with Western popular idioms, a practice that has grown into a major stream of activity for a large number of Indian musicians.

The first of these efforts to receive widespread recognition was Shakti, a group consisting of MacLaughlin, violinist L. Shankar, and South Indian percussionists Ramnad Raghavan and T.H. "Tikku" Vinayakram. While Shakti retained acoustic instrumentation, Hussain's later fusion projects such as Planet Drum, with Mickey Hart (later reincarnated as the Global Drum Project), Tabla Beat Science, and The Diga Rhythm Band often included electric instruments and synthesizers. Hussain also has provided music for film, including Ismail Merchant's In Custody and The Mystic Masseur and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Little Buddha, and for dance companies, most notably Alonzo King's Lines Ballet. He has received numerous prestigious honors and awards, including the Indo-American Award (1990), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991), the Government of India bestowed titles of Padma Shree (1988) and Padma Bhushan (2002), and the NEA National Heritage Fellowship (1999).

-Grove Music Online, Stephen Slawek

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Recorded by Betty Wangerin.

See logsheets for complete description of contents.

Durations: OT - 38:47 (reel 1), 37:17 (reel 2); CD - 39:08 (disc 1), 38:09 (disc 2)

Oxide shed noted on both OT and WT reels 11/2000; tapes baked and CD-R copies produced from OT set 11/2000.

Original reels re-digitized 8/2009, at 24-bit/48 kHz (74-15.1 OT.aif; 74-15.2 OT.aif) (no new CD copy made)

Work Tapes de-acquisitioned 8/2009 (WT-2 reels (7.5 ips, 2 tr., stereo, 10") (38:21 (reel 1), 37:33 (reel 2))

Documentation: Program

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Description Dates
1 optical media : CD - unpublished; Tracks: 2
Contents as listed on program:1. Melodic Mode: Emen; Rythmic Mode: Tintal (16) (first sympathetic string broke)2. Melodic Mode: Bopali; Rhythmic Mode: Jhaptal (10); Nghma composed by Ustad Mohammad Omar (retuned sympathetic strings to cover for broken string) ("Didn't play folk song because of broken string"(hand-written note on program))Intermission (continued on next CD)
1 optical media : CD - unpublished; Tracks: 3
Contents as listed in the program:2nd half of concert continued3. Tabla solo in Jhaptal4. Melodic Mode: Pelo; Rhythmic Mode: Tintal (16); shakal, improvisatory introduction in a mixture of related modes; naghma, composed section, is in Pelo. 5. Keliwali: Afghan (Pashtu) folk song in Kastori melodic mode. ("Shal wa chawa garmida" (hand-written on program))

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Concerts
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Geographical Names :
  • Afghanistan--Asia--Central Asia
  • Asia
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Hussain, Zakir (performer)
    • Omar, Mohammad (performer)