Monday, January 17, 2011

Tabla Tarrango and Tibet2Timbuk2 at Woodford

As you may have read in my previous post, Woodford Folk Festival was huge as usual. As well as playing with Tibet2Timbuk2 (our first time at the festival), this year I was honoured and excited to have my tabla school invited to perform. We performed under the name "Tabla Tarrango" which is also the name my first guru Debu Bhattacharya used for his tabla group performances. My two best tabla students, Tito Basu and Sanjey Sivaananthan, joined me to perform a number of compositions in jhaptaal (10 beats) and teentaal (16 beats). We were joined on harmonium by Joseph Nand and vocals by Sulagna Basu, in a style somewhat inspired by Pt Suresh Talwarkar's new style of tabla solo, incorporating vocal performance in between tabla compositions. The performance was well received and I'm hopeful it will become a yearly event for us. We'll put on an absolutely brilliant show in a few more years!

Tibet2Timbuk2 at Chai Tent

Tibet2Timbuk2 at Bazaar Stage, where we had brilliant sound, thanks Bazaar sound crew!

Woodford Folk Festival 2010-11

After a gap of three years, I was back at Woodford this year, thanks to the participation of Tibet2Timbuk2 as well as my tabla group Tabla Tarrango. I'll report on my shows in the next post, and here just post a bunch of photos of other stuff I enjoyed at the festival. If you don't know, Woodford Folk Festival is the biggest festival in Australia and one of the biggest in the world, running over 6 days from Dec 27 to Jan 1 with 23 stages and a whole lot going on. This year we had a lot of rain in the leadup to the festival, so it was very muddy and gumboots were just about mandatory. Given that the alternative is intense heat, the rain wasn't so bad, and we even had a couple of fine days. On with the highlights...

On the first four nights, Dva (Linsey Pollak - reeds; Tunji Beier - South Indian percussion) were joined by 6-8 friends for improvised sessions on the Folklorica stage, which has one of the best sound systems and engineers in the festival. This photo is from the first session which had a Middle Eastern flavour, though for me the best jam session was on the last night, featuring Dya Singh, Dheeraj Shrestha and Tenzin Choegyal.

Butoh dance performance by Yumiko Nii, entitled "Pillow". She did lots with that pillow.

Some street scenes

The Hare Krishnas brought their big Jagannath mobile temple and got the crowd to pull them around the festival.

Vinod Prasanna (bansuri) and Glen Kniebeiss (tabla)

Noriko Tadano (tsugaru shamisen)

We jumped on the Mystery Bus which actually consisted of 3 phases. The first two phases were a bit of interactive comedy entertainment until we finally got on the bus and got a very enjoyable song from A French Butler Called Smith.

Rasa Duende - Bobby Singh (tabla), Adrian McNeil (sarod), Damian Wright (flamenco guitar)

We took in a bit of circus, and actually one comedy/juggling segment was our absolute top highlight; we laughed so hard. Wish I'd gotten that guy's name...

On New Year's Eve there were lots of choices but the best lineup for us was at the big Amphtiheatre stage, a show leading up to midnight called The Big Bang. Here our good friends Spankinhide jam with Ali Baba and Ben Walsh from The Bird on drums.

After The Big Bang, Spankinhide headed over to the Chai Tent for the first African drum jam of the year.

On the final evening, Jan 1, there's the Fire Event Closing Ceremony, which begins with a local indigenous person starting a fire from scratch...


After the Fire Event, we headed to the Chai Tent where Yeshe had a set with some special guest musicians.
L to R: Tunji Beier, Josie Kurukulie, Elliott Orr, Yeshe, Laura Targett, Avishai, Cye, Peter Hunt, Tenzin Choegyal