Friday, October 28, 2011

Various concerts with Tenzin and Tabla Tarrango

Since my hectic Japan tour (including two weeks with Tenzin Choegyal) in August and September, I've been enjoying the relaxing space at my Highgate Hill home and getting back into lessons with my tabla students, along with a few concerts on the weekends.  Once again, I've been doing a few shows with Tenzin Choegyal, including a 3 show weekend in the countryside inland from Brisbane doing small concerts fundraising for Tibetan Children's Village.  We've also performed at Gold Coast and Queensland Multicultural Festivals, along with my tabla student performance group Tabla Tarrango.  I'm missing some photos from a few recent concerts, notably Tibet2Timbuk2 with erhu player Nicholas Ng at Crystal Waters on Friday 14th October, a really lovely gig.
Tenzin Choegyal accompanied by Shen (tabla) and Peter Hunt (guitar) at Kaivalya Meru community, 17 Sep 2011
Accompanying Tenzin at Gold Coast Multicultural Festival, 18 Sep 2011
Tabla Tarrango performing at Gold Coast Multicultural Festival
L to R: Sanjey, Jesinthan, Shen, Thejan, Tito
Tenzin with Jacqui and Shen in Glamorgan Vale, 8 Oct 2011 
Glamorgan Vale, 8 Oct 2011

Tabla Tarrango performing at Queensland Multicultural Festival, 16 Oct 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Brisbane Family Success in Tabla Exam

Rhea Ravi (7) and Ritvik Ravi (13) achieved distinctions in PRSSV tabla exam
A brother and sister in Parkinson have achieved distinctions in a London-based tabla exam. Ritvik Ravi (13) and Rhea Ravi (7) received top marks among 12 tabla students from Brisbane and Gold Coast who took the exams held by Pandit Ram Sahai Sangeet Vidyalaya (PRSSV). Rhea Ravi also studies Carnatic vocals under her mother, well-known vocalist Susmitha Ravi, as well as Bharat Natyam dance. Ritvik Ravi has also taken his mother's singing lessons and currently also plays drumkit.

All the other students of the Ashutosh Bhattacharya Memorial Tabla School who took the exams achieved merits. The exams are available in 8 grades equivalent to AMEB or Trinity music examinations. The students have to study a range of practical and theoretical material including classical tabla repertoire, Hindustani classical music theory, music writing system, biographies of famous musicians, and the history of tabla gharanas. 

The top Brisbane tabla students, Tito Basu (15) and Sanjey Sivaananthan (15) successfully completed grade 6 and will attempt grade 7 when the exams are next held in Brisbane next February. PRSSV are currently applying for recognition by the Qld Studies Authority, so that from next year exam results will be included in the students' school certificates.

For enquiries about PRSSV tabla exams, tabla lessons, repairs and instrument sales, please contact Shen Flindell on 0415106428 or email

Sunday October 16: Queensland Multicultural Festival, Roma St Parklands.  Tabla Tarrango will perform on the Children's Stage from 1245 to 1pm.

   (to be printed in Brisbane Indian Times Oct 2011 edition)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Indian Classics Tokyo 2011 - A first class Indian classical concert

My last concert of this year's Japan tour was a really first class event held in Densho Hall in Shibuya, bringing together some of the top Indian classical artists in Japan at the time.  The 9/11 event marked 6 months since the Fukushima tsunami and 10 years since the New York attacks.  The hall was packed full of attentive listeners creating a fantastic atmosphere for great music.  Many thanks to organiser Yuriko Terahara and congratulations on a great job for Indian music!  The after party was loads of fun too - the biggest I've ever been part of!

These photos were taken by Akiro Io and there are many more on his blog.

Fumie Negishi (vocal) with Ayako Ikeda (tabla)
Taro Terahara (bansuri) with Shen Flindell (tabla)
Steve Oda (sarod) with Ty Burhoe (tabla)
Amit Roy (sitar) with U-Zhaan (tabla)

14th and Final Gifu Sangeet Mela

I've been lucky enough to participate in the annual Gifu Sangeet Mela 6 times - the first time as an audience member and then 5 times performing, culminating in this year's final instance of this wonderful event. (Here are my blog posts for the last three years'.)  It really is great to gather so many musicians to perform together and see each others' performances, give feedback, discuss music and just hang out all night.  This year I was blessed to play twice: first accompanying Taro Terahara (bansuri) and second accompanying Koki Yoshida (sitar).  Unfortunately a few of us Tokyo musicians had to leave at 4am to return for a concert the next day, and so weren't able to see the final two performances nor enjoy the feeling of having experienced the whole night together.  The next day's after-party is always a blast too; so sad to have missed that.  Many thanks to Jimi-san for inviting me to join in again, and we'll miss the Sangeet Mela in future years.

Event organiser and wonderful santoor player, Setsuo "Jimi-san" Miyashita
This image of Saraswati-maa, goddess of music, has looked over Sangeet Mela for 14 years!
Baku Hirakawa (sarod) with Ayako Ikeda (tabla)
Rahul Acharya (Odissi dance)

Taro Terahara (bansuri) with Shen Flindell (tabla)

Sachiko Murakami's Odissi dance group

Live accompaniment for Sachiko Murakami's Odissi dance group

Jai Bajrang - Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj) and Takaaki Kuno (ghatam)
Scene from the green room

Koki Yoshida (sitar) with Shen Flindell (tabla)
Atsuko Maeda and her Kathak dance group
Steve Oda (sarod) with Ty Burhoe (tabla)
Yukie Satou (Odissi dance)
Shree (Dhrupad vocal) with Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj)

EthnoSuperLounge @ Magokoro Vol 2 with Aoyamaguchi

For the second Friday EthnoSuperLounge at Magokoro, I was joined by bansuri buddy Taro Terahara and Japanese folk song duo Aoyamaguchi.  Aoyamaguchi had joined Taro, Tenzin and a for shows in Fukushima and Sendai earlier in my Japan tour.  Their combination of Japanese folk singing with Tuvan throat singing and open-tuned guitar is very beautiful and emotive.  As always, we finished the show up with a jam session.  I think Taro and I make a great accompaniment team!

A couple of Tokyo shows

After the Magokoro Kamakura show I had a couple more events in Tokyo city itself.  First up I accompanied Yuki in our concert after her workshop at Sun and Moon Yoga in Meguro.  The following night I joined Taro Terahara (bansuri) and June Chikuma (ney) for an exploration of Indian and Arab flutes at Saint-Jacques Bistro, Nishiogikubo.  We did some wild free improvisations in joining to two kinds of music!

EthnoSuperLounge @ Magokoro Vol 1 with Mbira Zvakanaka

The last few years we have done concerts with Tenzin Choegyal at Kamakura hemp cafe, Magokoro ("Hemp Heart"), but this year things didn't work out.  So instead they offered me a couple of concerts on the first two Fridays in September, with whomever I wanted to invite!  The first week I invited Mbira Zvakanaka to join Yuki and I in a lovely show.  The final jam was lots of fun and really melded our music together in a very fun way.


For the last weekend of August Yuki and I went to Fukuoka, where Yuki was giving Nada Yoga workshops all weekend at Yoga Limt.  I joined her for a small concert on the Saturday evening, where we did our now usual programme of mantras, kirtans and tabla solo.  I didn't do much else while in Fukuoka except for eating at the delicious Daiichi Udon, the best eating place within walking distance of our accommodation courtesy of our old Fukuoka friend Amigo-chan.  Thanks Amigo!  Also thanks to sitar player Hide Iwai who came from Kumamoto to see us and practise together. 

Concert with Yuki at Yoga Limt, Fukuoka
The udon king at Daiichi Udon, Ikinomatsubara, Fukuoka
Goubouten bukkake udon - yum yum yum!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yatsubuchi Falls (八ツ淵の滝)

While staying in Kyoto I went on a fantastic hike with my two Aussie brothers in Kyoto, Alex and Andy.  We went up Yatsubuchi no Taki ("Eight deep-pooled waterfalls") in Shiga prefecture about 90 minutes drive from Kyoto.  We set out from the car at 12 noon and returned 6 hours later after some perilous climbs, refreshing dips and waterfall showers, and some magnificent scenery.  We didn't see another person all day.  We finished up soaking our sore limbs in an onsen (hot spring) on the way back to Kyoto.