Thursday, May 16, 2019

On tour with Sangeet Mishra (2018 Aug-Sep)

Eighth generation sarangi master Sangeet Mishra is currently on his 18th trip to Australia, which included a performance at Sangeet Mela 2019, but first I have to tell you about his 17th trip to Australia, back in August and September of 2018. (Quick sampling of previous blogs about Sangeet Mishra: Woodford 2016-17 with Supriyo Dutta, June 2016, Woodford 2014 with his father Santosh, Sangeet Mela 2014 and accompanying tour, Woodford 2013, Sep 2012 with Santosh, April 2010, May 2009 with Taro Terahara - his first visit.)

The first part of the tour was organised by Byron-based Indian slide guitarist Shivam Rath, and then after a couple of little concerts around Brisbane, along with a much bigger Kathak dance event, we hit the airways with Tenzin Choegyal to do some concerts around country Victoria and Hobart.

Fri 24 Aug Ocean Shores: Sangeet, Shivam, Shen - A little home concert to kick things off...

Sat 25 Aug Nimbin: Soul Sangeet - Sangeet Mishra, Shen Flindell, Shivam Rath

Sound checking in Nimbin...
Fri 31 Aug Westlake: Sarangi recital by Sangeet Mishra (Mumbai/Varanasi) with Shen Flindell (tabla) - Another very little home concert. Promotion is not my bag.

Sat 1 Sep 3pm West End: Infinity Kathak's "Dancing Aura" - feat Sangeet Mishra, Shen Flindell - The best locally organised Kathak show I've been part of in Brisbane, well done to Dr Helena Joshi and her students. By bringing in Sangeet Mishra on sarangi, the live music accompaniment for Kathak dance went very easily and beautifully.

Newstead: Soul Sangeet Brisbane - Shivam, Sangeet, Shen, Adele Lee

Event flyer for Soul Sangeet Brisbane
Sun 2 Sep Sunshine Coast: Sangeet and Shen - Sarangi and Tabla - Thanks to Rashmi for hosting us.

3-10 Sep Vic/Tas: Tenzin Choegyal, Sangeet Mishra tour - Strathbogie, Yackandandah, Shepparton, Hobart. Thanks to Dawn Cooper for managing this whole tour!

Strathbogie tour launch

Yackandandah concert

On Radio ABC in Hobart.

Indian classical set in Hobart.

Tibetan set in Hobart

Tour flyer

11th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert

Every year the Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School holds its annual concert on the Saturday nearest Guru Purnima. Last year's 11th edition was held on July 28th at Queensland Multicultural Centre. It is always a heart warming evening, rejoicing in the beauty of traditional classical tabla compositions played in harmonious groups of all levels, unmatched by other tabla schools around the country. The organisers are grateful for the unstinting support of Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio. Thanks to Isha Pallavi for photos - see our Facebook album for lots more.

Sri Joseph Abhay Nand gave naghma support on harmonium throughout the evening, as he has done every year since the inaugural concert in 2008.

Some of our beautiful family of tabla students having fun in the lobby.

Opening bhajan by Smt Anvi Vaidya, accompanied on tabla by her 8 year old son Aarav.

Beginners group - Sreyas, Hiyan, Dev, Amit

Intermediate group - Ashwin, Guhanesh, Ayush, Aaryan, Saurabh

Our most special student, Varun Lal, who had a car accident 10 years ago leaving him only able to play with right hand.

Advanced group - Siva, Rhea, Ishaaq, Sivamsan, Arun

Graduates group - Thejan, Jesinthan, Tito, Sanjey

Sri Umesh Chandra giving speech before presentation of certificates with Guru Sri Shen Flindell

Tabla solo by Sri Shen Flindell in Char Taal ki Sawari (11 matras)

Whole school with certificates, watched over by Maha-guru Late Pt Kaviraj Ashutosh Bhattacharya

Various concerts with Tenzin Choegyal (2018 April-June)

Readers of this blog will know that one of my main musical collaborators outside the field of Indian classical music is the renowned Tibetan singer-songwriter Tenzin Choegyal. When we are joined by singer-guitarist Marcello Milani we call the band Tibet2Timbuk2, which along with a recent regular member Richard Grantham (viola) has been recording a new album which will be released very soon at the time of writing.

While compiling my list of performances over the last couple of years, this block of 5 events with Tenzin stood out. The first two bookings came about as a result of the various festivities surrounding the Commonwealth Games, being held on the Gold Coast at the time. There were also a couple of very significant events: 1000 Stories with Michael Leunig, and Songs from the Bardo with Laurie Anderson.

Thu 12 Apr Queen St Mall: Tibet2Timbuk2 (FREE)

Sat 28 Apr New Farm: 1,000 Stories Michael Leunig with Tenzin Choegyal - As part of his annual Festival of Tibet, Tenzin Choegyal invited renowned Australian artist Michael Leunig to come and do live painting in the Brisbane Powerhouse theatre while we played music for his "little art studio". The sold out auditorium had a wonderful atmosphere, with lots of laughs in between songs. At the end a painting was auctioned for $3000, which went to Tibetan Children's Village!

Menaka Thomas (Indian vocals), Shen Flindell (tabla), Tenzin Choegyal (Tibetan vocals), Michael Leunig (live painting), Marcello Milani (guitar), Richard Grantham (viola), Michael Askill (gongs, bowls)

After show celebrations: Shen, Marcello, Bronnie, Michael, Tenzin.

Sat 26 May Peak Crossing: Tenzin and Shen - Just a little show at Ivory's Rock for a festival welcoming recent migrants.

Sat 23 Jun ​​Surfers: Songs from the Bardo - Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal and friends - For several years, Tenzin has been visiting New York City most years to perform at the annual Tibet House concert in Carnegie Hall. During these visits he made friends with world famous performance artist Laurie Anderson, so when Laurie was planning to come to Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast for a week long residency, she contacted Tenzin to arrange a performance of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The stage was just beautiful and it was a very special experience to work with such an accomplished performance artist on this spoken word performance with abstract soundscapes and some very subtle improvisations. Thanks to Tenzin for including me.





The team post-show: Cye Wood (violin, piano), Tenzin Choegyal (vocal, dranyen, flute, percussion), Laurie Anderson (spoken word, viola), Michael Askill (gongs,bells), Shen Flindell (tabla, percussion)

Time with tabla master Pt Abhijit Banerjee (2018 March)

Way back in 2001, while I was teaching English in Japan, I had the chance to live in a splendid 125 year old traditional Japanese house in north Kyoto. On the other side of the paper wall from my bedroom came the sound of tabla practice - I was living next to one of the only other tabla players in Kyoto!

That tabla player was Abhinav Garg, who now lives in Melbourne, and contacted me about bringing his guru Pt Abhijit Banerjee. I was very happy to help if possible, and by good fortune the timing was just right for some discussions I was having with BEMAC (Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre) about hosting an event. The result was a BEMAC LIVE event at Queensland Multicultural Centre on March 17, 2018, which just happens to be the 101st anniversary of my own tabla guru-ji's birthday. While we were having a concert of Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar) with Abhijit-da's accompaniment, followed by his amazing tabla solo, my friends in Varanasi were putting on our guru-ji's memorial concert featuring Saikat's guru-bhai Shakir Khan and tabla solo by Pt Yogesh Samsi.

Meanwhile back to Brisbane... Following wonderful accompaniment of Saikat's sitar, Abhijit-da gave 75 minutes tabla solo and kept the audience enthralled. We only ended because of time limitations of the venue.

Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar) accompanied by Pt Abhijit Banerjee (tabla)

Tabla solo with accompaniment by Joseph Nand (harmonium)

Event team: Shen Flindell (event producer), Pt Abhijit Banerjee (tabla), Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar), Abhinav Garg (tour manager).

The following day, Abhijit-da gave very nice workshops to my tabla students and several other tabla players from Brisbane. We learnt some excellent compositions, including a chakardar tukra and a chaturang which I have gratefully incorporated into my regular repertoire.

Intermediate workshop participants.

Various events 2018 January-June

Continuing efforts to be complete in recording all the gigs I do here...

  • Sat 6 Jan Kohinur: Roots Raga Reggae - Following Woodford Folk Festival, which brought so many amazing musicians to our shores, Byron-based Indian slide guitarist Shivam Rath organised this immense event bringing together an eclectic mix of Indian classical, world and reggae musicians, firstly at Kohinur Hall, followed by a midnight drive up wild dirt roads to the top of Mt Jerusalem for an after-party featuring NZ roots artist Matiu te Huki. Apart from the various accompaniment roles I took (photos follow), I was asked to give a tabla solo from 430am and thanks to the freedom of time and the lovely accompaniment by violinist Yuki Kaneko (Japan), I went quite deeply into my tabla solo and will never forget it.

    Event flyer

    Accompanying Bart Stenhouse (flamenco guitar) with Shivam Rath (slide guitar) and Georgia Shine (cello).

    Introducing the world premiere of Yuki's cross-dressing Dhrupad/Chhau performance: First singing song on Shiva in Dhrupad style with accompaniment by Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj), then performing Shiva Tandava of Chhau dance.

    Accompanying Tahir Qawwal (vocal) along with Taro Terahara (bansuri) and Bhairavi Devi (vocal).

    Accompanying jugalbandi with Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar) and Taro Terahara (bansuri), after them each having done solo set.

  • Sat 13 Jan Tarragindi: Japan Gharana - Indian classical music home concert - As well as our regular visitor Taro Terahara (bansuri), who had just performed at Woodford Folk Festival, we were also joined by Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj) and Yuki Kaneko (violin), a couple from Nagoya, Japan who share our deep interest in Indian classical music. Along with my partner Yuki Taniguchi (Dhrupad vocal and Chhau dance), and myself having been regularly active in Japan, we thought the theme "Japan Gharana" seemed appropriate. It was a nice home concert in our little sun room at our home in Tarragindi.
    Japan Gharana performers (L to R): Yuriko Terahara (tanpura), Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj), Yuki Kaneko (violin), Yuki Taniguchi (Chhau dance, Dhrupad vocal), Taro Terahara (bansuri), Shen Flindell (tabla).

  • Sat 20 Jan Beaudesert: Tibet2Timbuk2 (Tenzin and friends) - No photos, sorry, but you know the music was beautiful. We were by now joined by new regular member Richard Grantham (viola), and I recall the performance of Orolanchung with his viola arrangement was just splendid.
2018 MARCH

2018 APRIL-JUNE: Various Shows with Tenzin Choegyal - see separate blog post.
2018 JUNE

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Various events 2017 Oct-Dec




Woodford 2017 with Taro, Saikat, Namita, Tenzin, and Tabla Tarrango!

There was a wonderful varied programme of Indian classical music at Woodford 2017, featuring Namita Mehta (vocalist based in Singapore), Taro Terahara (bansuri player based in Japan), Saikat Bhattacharya (locally based sitarist), and my tabla student group Tabla Tarrango! As usual I also got to play a few times with Tibetan vocalist Tenzin Choegyal, always a lovely time. Taro and I were asked to join a short performance in the Amphitheatre in the leadup to the 1130pm new year's eve silence, an amazing experience seeing a sea of candles and so many silent people. In all I had 15 performances at the festival - my personal record, overtaken the following year in 2018.

Jugalbandi by Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar) and Taro Terahara (bansuri)

Rehearsing for New Year's Eve pre-silence Amphitheatre show.

Tabla Tarrango (Shen, Ishaaq, Rhea, Bipro, Sivamsan) with special guest Taro giving naghma.

Prayer Wheel concert with Tenzin and Taro (sound check).

New Year's Dawn Hilltop concert
First sunrise of 2018

Tenzin and friends at Blue Lotus
Namita Mehta (vocal) with accompaniment by Taro and Shen

Taro and I got asked to do a little recording in Brown Dog's caravan. There's a video floating around somewhere....