Wednesday, July 13, 2011

4th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert

My annual tabla school concert on (or near) Guru Purnima has become one of the definite highlights of my year.  This year's event was held in Sunnybank Community Hall on Saturday 9th July, 6 days ahead of Guru Purnima.  Guru-ji's magic was evident in the atmosphere as always, and more and more each year I feel we are cultivating the energy passed down from guru to student through several generations including Benares Gharana originator Pt Ram Sahai and my late Guru-ji Pt Ashutosh Bhattacharya.

In this year's 4th annual concert (click the links for 1st, 2nd and 3rd concerts) we had 11 students performing.  Four of the students had performed at previous concerts but happily we had a lot of new students performing this year.  The concert always brings out the best in the students, with lots of extra practice in the weeks beforehand and a lot of inspiration to keep practising in the weeks afterward.  Everyone put in a great performance but special mentions must go to youngest and only girl tabla performer Rhea Ravi, naal solo by Vraja Dhama, fine accompaniment in bhajan by Tito Basu, and excellent all-round playing by Sanjey Sivaananthan.

Many thanks to Joseph Abhay Nand for patient harmonium accompaniment as always, and of course to all the parents and friends for helping out with the concert and throughout the year.  Special thanks to super volunteers Darshil Shah, Vraja Dhama, Yuki Taniguchi and Feridun Avar, and to Brent James for these splendid photographs and other assistance.

An altar to Guru-ji

 Our distinguished guest, Smt Vijaya Visvanathan, inaugurated the proceedings

Yuki Taniguchi (Sanskrit mantras)

 Darshil Shah (bansuri) accompanied Yuki's mantras

Sulagna Basu presented some bhajans in honour of goddess Saraswati and the Guru.  She was accompanied very well by her son Arka Tito Basu on tabla, and Joseph Abhay Nand on harmonium.

Diptanu Debroy (11) started the tabla solos

Bipro Hussain (9) and Ishaaq Jamil (8) (see them on youtube!)

 Rhea Ravi (7) played in a tabla duet with her older brother...

Ritvik Ravi (13)

 Nitin Niranjan (12)

Vraja Dhama - naal solo

Thejan Elankayer (11)

 Arka Tito Basu (15) gave tabla solo in Jhaptaal (10 beats) and Teentaal (16 beats)

Jesinthan Ketheeswaran (17) and Sanjey Sivaananthan (15) also performed in Jhaptaal and Teentaal

Joseph Abhay Nand gave patient accompaniment on harmonium throughout

 The students received certificates, presented by Smt Vijaya Visvanathan.  The certificates feature the lineage of Benares Gharana guru-shishya parampara starting from gharana founder Pt Ram Sahai.

Finally I gave a tabla solo, also in Jhaptaal and Teentaal.  If you play something twice, you should make a tihai and play it three times!

Soumya Chakraverty sarodia

I was recently lucky enough to have two weekends of concerts with visiting sarod player Soumya Chakraverty.  Soumya used to live in Brisbane for a few years and I actually spoke with him once on the phone at that time, just as he was about to leave for USA where he has been living ever since.  He and his wife Michelle returned to Brisbane to visit Michelle's family, and while here to play some music, luckily for me!

While discussing possible concerts I mentioned Soumya to Brisbane resident sitar player Saikat Bhattacharya, who commented that he knew a sarod playing Soumya Chakraverty in high school, and it was indeed the same Soumya!  They graduated from Calcutta Boys School in 1986, making the concerts we had together a kind of 25 year reunion, and a very enjoyable reunion it was too.

Sat June 25: "Strings of India" concert hosted by Swara Mohini
Shrabani Choudhury (sitar)

Sat June 25: "Strings of India" concert hosted by Swara Mohini
Soumya Chakraverty (sarod)

Sat June 25: "Strings of India" concert hosted by Swara Mohini
Soumya Chakraverty (sarod)

Fri 1st July @ Temple of Melodious Sound, Ocean Shores
Soumya Chakraverty, Shen Flindell, Saikat Bhattacharya
A 25th year school reunion with a difference

Sat 2nd July Brisbane Powerhouse

Sat 2nd July Brisbane Powerhouse

 Sun 3rd July Morning Ragas Concert hosted by Swara Mohini

 Sun 3rd July, Awakening Centre, Maleny
Yuki opened the concert with Sanskrit mantras

Sun 3rd July, Awakening Centre, Maleny

Tibet2Timbuk2 - 2 fun gigs

On Sat 4th June, Tibet2Timbuk2 had a couple of fun gigs in one day, firstly at Zillmere Multicultural Festival in the afternoon. It was a lovely afternoon for a festival which also included Tenzin's solo performance and other music and dance performances from local communities from around the world. Unfortunately we couldn't enjoy much of the other music because we had to rush off to New Farm to play a benefit concert for a school in Tabo, Spiti, north India. We played some very peaceful improvisations in the evening concert.

Our next show will be on Saturday 16th July at The Basement in Surfers Paradise, with special guest Menaka Visvanathan. This will be our last show before Tenzin and I head off for a Japan tour, July 28 to August 10. I'll be staying on in Japan for a month after that.

 Tibet2Timbuk2 at Zillmere Multicultural Festival

Tibet2Timbuk2 performing in Merthyr Uniting Church