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Zakir Hussain Kicks Off 'India Calling!' At World Music Festival

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The largest international music festival in the country kicks off this week with a three-day celebration of Indian culture.

The World Music Festival will run for the last ten days of September, featuring performances at Pritzker Pavilion, the Chicago Cultural Center, Daley Plaza and dozens of other locations around the city. Opening the festival is a Tuesday night performance by tabla master Zakir Hussain in Millennium Park.

Hussain, joined by Niladri Kumar on the sitar, will open the "India Calling!" festival-within-a-festival that will span the first three days of World Music Fest. This Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, free events downtown will celebrate Indian culture, music and crafts.

All three days, the Chicago Cultural Center will host cooking demonstrations, meditation classes, arts exhibitions and dance performances. The Chicago Tourism Center will also get in on the action with a display of photographic and watercolor landscapes of India by artists Steve McCurry and Paresh Maity.

But Hussain and Kumar's performance is likely to be the highlight of the three-day bonanza. Kumar is considered one of his generation's most talented classical sitarists, and Hussain has cut his teeth with such legends as George Harrison, YoYo Ma, Pharoah Sanders and Ravi Shankar.

What: India Calling! Opening Concert

When: Tuesday, September 21, 6 p.m.

Where: Pritzker Pavilion
Millennium Park, Chicago

Price: Free!