Thursday, September 27, 2007

Forest band with mbira and bass

Some snaps from last night's session at The Forest...

(L to R): Ravi (jazz guitar), Alicia (mbira), Shen (tabla), David (double bass)

And on the other side of the room...
George (accordion), Sammy (whistles), Tony (vocals/bongos)

Alicia and Ravi

Sammy channeling

Hilary and Bess

Went to the post office yesterday and the only parking spot for my van Hilary was right next to her sister Bess! Two seventies Ford Transits in West End...

Bess and Hilary

Hilary and Bess

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Article in Brisbane Indian Times

There is an article about me in the latest edition of Brisbane Indian Times (issue date Sep 15, 2007, page 40):

Local Tabla Wala Returns from Taal Yatra

Brisbane-based tabla player Shen Flindell has returned from 7 months’ travelling around Asia with little more than his tabla and laptop.

Shen spent 3 months in the holy city of Varanasi, India, practising his art and performing in several concerts, including Saraswati Puja in his Guru-ji Late Pandit Ashutosh Bhattacharya’s home and the 3rd annual Ashu-Babu Memorial Concert on holy Tulsi Ghat. “I’ll always fondly remember the Mahanta-ji of Viswanath Mandir telling me of our performance, ‘Bahut sundar! Esa hona chahiye.’,” says Shen. Also while in India, he took lessons in tabla from his senior guru-bhai, Pt. Govinda Chakraborty, head of the tabla department at Kathak Kendra in Delhi.

Following this Indian sojourn, Shen spent a further 3 months giving Indian Classical Music concerts all around Japan. “The Indian Classical Music community in Japan is very strong – there are many enthusiastic students who continue their studies for many years. This year I played with 20 different musicians all around the country, each one with their own unique style and character. That is the beauty of Indian Classical Music.”

On return to Australia, Shen’s travels were not over as he immediately took on 3 weeks visiting Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and meeting various artists there.

Now based back in Highgate Hill, Brisbane, Shen will be concentrating entirely on tabla and Indian Classical Music in our region. He is available for both adults and kids tabla lessons, and can give classes in suburban areas for groups of 4 or more. He is also experienced in tabla repair and has high quality parts from Varanasi’s leading tabla maker, Mohammad Anwar. He can even find uses for old tabla and tabla skins. Shen can be contacted on 0415-106428 or by email at (For concert details, see the website

Shen Flindell accompanying Taro Terahara at a concert in Varanasi. Taro will be visiting Australia again this December.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Forest House Band + playing for 400 kids

The gradually evolving Forest World Music Wednesday house band - Sammy (whistles, harmonic singing, etc), Ravi (jazz guitar), Shen (tabla), George (accordion)

Wednesday nights at The Forest vegetarian cafe are going really well. A few musicians are turning up regularly and there have been some very nice sound blends going down. Thanks to Ravi for the smooth jazz guitar, George for sensitive accordion, and Sammy for channeling spirits through his whistles and voice!

Playing for 400 Kids
No photos of this, but yesterday Asim Gorashi (great Sudanese musician living in Brisbane now) played for the final of the Wakakirri Story Contest Grand Final - our audience 400 primary school kids! It was so much fun. We played a couple of songs, and in between I did a tabla demonstration. Got the kids to say "tetekatagadiganadha!" They were really excited and wow, really fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Global Soul Music poster

I've started organising concerts again! Not super publicity big gigs, but getting some nice musicians together in a nice space and playing some beautiful experimental cross-cultural music. Next Saturday is the first of my monthly "Global Soul Music" events at Core Yoga Studios in West End, a suburb of Brisbane with lots of artistic and interesting folks.

The musicians in this first concert are:
: Asim Gorashi from Sudan - oud, violin, vocals, whistling
: Cieavash Arean from Iran - tar, vocals, daf, ney, camanche, Persian santoor
: Vijaya Visvanathan from India - vocals (Carnatic)
: Shen from Australia - Indian tabla

We had a great rehearsal tonight. Oud, tar, tabla, tamboura and voices from Sudan, Iran and India - it's a really nice group.

We need a name! Any suggestions? Please leave a comment.

Full concert info and details about the artists, click here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Broadband = BUSY!!!

(Sorry, no photos this week - my camera's broken...)

Last Monday our long awaited broadband internet connection came, and suddenly I went from slow motion to super-busy as all the tasks I'd been putting off suddenly became urgent.

A few weeks ago I returned to Brissie from several months' travels in Japan and India, which was also a culmination of several years' gypsy life. While I expect there will be lots more gypsying about in the coming years, right now I'm pretty broke and have an intention to make the most of the possibilities for Indian classical and world music fusion in Australia. So for the next year I'll be quite settled in Brissie.

So for the last few weeks I haven't been doing much, just opening boxes which hadn't been opened in several years and making a nest. Settling into this place - Rosecliffe St, by the Brisbane River, near West End and all-up a pretty relaxed, organic, refreshing place to be.

I've been slowly starting to organise a few concerts - my weekly world music session at The Forest and a monthly EthnoSuperLounge event called Global Soul Music. I also have Taro Terahara coming to Australia in December so I'm planning a big concert in Brisbane with him. (Please check my Brisbane world music events page for details.) And at the same time I've been looking at ways to expand my tabla lessons.

Until last week I was doing all this pretty slowly, and putting off a lot of work until our broadband connection came - which happened last Monday! Suddenly super-busy! Lots of website work going on too, including a new look (complete) and an online shop (not yet...).

A bit of a stress, self-management. I really do wish I could just worry about nothing but practice.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Harvest Festival

Some photos from Harvest Festival at Northey St City Farm yesterday. Northey St City Farm is a community organic farm. This is their big yearly event, with workshops on organic farming, cooking, and a strong multicultural element eg Indian & Eritrean cooking workshops, ethnic food stalls and most of all a lineup of multicultural entertainment organised by BEMAC (Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre).

Asim Gorashi (middle - oud/violin/vocals - Sudan), Cieavash Arean (on the right - daf, various Persian instruments - Iran) and friends
I came especially to see Cieavash and Asim. I'd never seen Asim before and I was very impressed by his music and energy. I've invited him to join my concert at Core Yoga with Cieavash and Vijaya Visvanathan on September 29th. Should be fabulous!

Also at Harvest Festival, there was a Muslim forum, in which 4 diverse Muslim people spoke about their experiences and opinions and responded to questions from the audience. It was very interesting.

Gig snaps: Vijaya's student concert, Forest session with Tenzin

Sri Krishna Music Academy Student Concert - Sat Sep 1

Some photos from Vijaya Visvanathan's student concert last week. I'd love to show you some photos of the cute Indian kids singing but no-one has sent me one yet...

Arthavan Selvanathan (mridingam), me and Atul (harmonium - student of Vijaya-ji)
Arthavan is 16 years old and was so much fun to play with!

Arthavan, Vijaya Visvanathan and myself after the concert
Vijaya-ji did a fantastic job. I have played in a few of her student concerts and this was the best one by far - very entertaining and varied. Her lead students, Menaka Visvanathan (her daughter) and Lavanya Lingam were just fabulous.

World Music Wednesdays with Shen @ The Forest - Opening Night

A couple of snaps from the first night of my new weekly gig at The Forest vegetarian cafe in Boundary St, West End. Last week my good mate Tenzin Choegyal came down with friend Katherine on cello, and Tony Kicken aka Magambo added some fabulous impro vocal. I think there will be some regular and irregular participants every week, so if you're in town please come on down.

Katherine Philp (cello), Tenzin Choegyal (flute/vocal/dranyen), Tony Kicken (vocal), Shen (tabla)

And Nab joined us on oud for a bit too.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Heirloom from Pt. Kanthe Maharaj-ji

Last month when I was in Melbourne I visited my first tabla teacher, Sri Debu Bhattacharya. Back in 1994, when I was working as a freshly graduated computer engineer, I started learning tabla from Debu. After a few months I went to Varanasi to learn from his father, Pt. Ashutosh Bhattacharya, aka Ashu-Babu and to many including me, Guru-ji. Guru-ji was a senior disciple of one of the bastions of Benares tabla, Pt. Kanthe Maharaj - there are some photos of him and other legendary Indian musicians in Guru-ji's Photo Gallery.

So while sitting with Debu last month, he told me "I have something I want to give you. Kanthe Maharaj gave this to my father when he was young, and then my father gave it to me when I was about 14. Do you want it?" Also while I was there he gave me some remarkable rhythms, the likes of which I've never heard before, and a delicious fish curry! :-) I'm so grateful.

The pendant I received from Debu-ji, who had received it from his father and my guru-ji, who had in turn received it from the legendary Pt. Kanthe Maharaj.

Sri Debu Bhattacharya, my first guru of tabla

My altar and practice space