Saturday, September 27, 2014

All the other little gigs, Jan-Sep 2014

From now on I'm going to save the blog for quite major events (like news about Sangeet Mela 2014, coming soon I promise). To satisfy my librarian side, which likes things complete, here are the all the other little gigs I had this year before September (which was huge):

Highlights? Spirit of Bhakti is going really very well - the combination of Radha and Menaka's voices is magical, and I'm proud to play music with them. Oh look, there was a trip to Japan. Yuki's Nada Yoga workshops went really well over there. I'm proud to play with her too. 

Many thanks to all the wonderful musicians who have invited me to play with them this year. I'm very lucky to have these opportunities, thank you.

Friday, September 26, 2014

7th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert

On Guru Purnima in July 2014, my tabla students and I celebrated our 7th annual tabla school concert. For the second year we held it in the beautiful QLD Multicultural Centre auditorium. All the kids did their best and as usual the main benefit I saw was all the extra practice and polishing of repertoire in the month before the concert. The concert itself is always a happy gathering of all the students and our family and friends. Many thanks to those who attended as well as Brisbane Indian Times for the little extra support necessary to make the event succeed.

All my gurus: Main guru-ji Late Pt Kaviraj Ashutosh Bhattacharya; first guru Sri Debapriya Bhattacharya; guru-ji's youngest son Dr Debabrata Bhattacharya; senior guru-bhai Sri Govinda Chakraborty; close guru-bhai Sri Manishankar Tripathi; other guru-jis I've had some lessons with Pt Nayan Ghosh and Pt Suresh Talwalkar.

Opening bhajan by Susmitha Ravi with Rhea Ravi on tabla; harmonium by Sri Joseph Abhay Nand

New beginners: Aaryan, Arun, Josh

More experienced youngsters: Mann, Rushi, Smit, Ashwin, Ayngaran, Siva

Intermediate: Avanish, Hari, Sivamsan, Nikhil, Rhea

Northside class: Bipro and Ishaaq

Gold Coast class: Thejan and Nitin

Advanced class: Sanjey, Jesinthan, Tito

My own tabla solo, in which I attempted to play at least one thing learnt from each of those tabla players who have strongly influenced me.

All the performers with certificates, featuring the Benares Gharana lineage.

Varanasi Feb 2014

Microblogging on Facebook has led me to neglect my regular old blog. Here we are in September and I'm writing about our family trip to Varanasi in February...

Yuki, baby Saraswati and I were in Varanasi for all of February, via brief stops in Kuala Lumpur and Kolkata each way. Yuki was having Dhrupad vocal lessons with her guru-ji Pt Ritwik Sanyal, and I was mostly supporting her by looking after our lovely baby Saraswati, who had a fantastic time in India. Saraswati took her first steps, spoke several words and turned one all in Varanasi. She loved all the action, animals, music and company and transformed from a very shy 11 month old into an outgoing 1 year old in just a month. We stayed in a nice apartment room with kitchen which allowed us to keep floor and food pretty clean, and she kept in very good health except for a runny nose.

Shortly after our arrival I took part in the Saraswati Puja home concert at my first Guru-ji Late Pt Ashutosh Bhattacharya's house.

Pt Kumar Bose gave a tabla solo performance on Assi Ghat for the Pt Anokhelal Mishra Memorial Concert. I'd badly sprained my ankle on the ghats a few days earlier, and been stuck in bed until I dragged myself out for this.

My personal highlight of the trip was taking a 4 day workshop with tabla master Taalyogi Pt Suresh Talwalkar. His student Praveen Uddhav is professor at BHU so there is a bunch of ready and willing students for Pandit-ji to come and teach every few months. We covered a range of kaydas, tihais and tukaras in a whole range of interesting chands, with a lot of offbeat accents developed in a systematic way. I really enjoyed and benefited from this introduction to his style of tabla and look forward to the next opportunity.

On the weekend of Shivaratri as usual there were many concerts, including the annual Dhrupad Mela, where Yuki and I became known as Saraswati's mother and father. She turned one on the first day of Dhrupad Mela.

Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia (bansuri) with Bhavani Shankar (pakhawaj) and the awesome accompaniment of Subhanker Banerjee (tabla). Unseasonal rain played havoc with the marquees over the small audience, so everyone crammed onto the stage area. We managed to snag a deserted VIP couch.

Final item of Dhrupad Mela - U. Bahauddin Dagar (rudra veena) - sublime.