Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tamil Saraswati Puja concert in Navratri

My tabla school recently had a special event, participating in a home concert for Saraswati Puja. In my Guru-ji's Bengali tradition, we celebrate Saraswati Puja on Basant Panchami in January or February, but the Tamil community celebrate it as part of Sharad Navratri (9 nights of the goddess, in October). All tabla accompaniment was provided by my students or myself. After the concert we enjoyed some delicious Sri Lankan food. Thanks to the Sivaananthan family for inviting us!

 Sivamsan opened with tabla solo

 Brother and sister Jesinthan (tabla) and Anju (sitar) Ketheeswaran

 Sanjey accompanying Gayatri (veena)

Yuki performed Dhrupad - alap, jor, jhala, gats in chautaal and shultaal - and two bhajans.

"For Tibet with Love" concerts in Central NSW

On the weekend of October 12-14, Tenzin Choegyal invited me along to join some of his "For Tibet with Love" concerts, which raise funds for the Tibetan Children's Village schools in India.  In Kempsey we were hosted by the Macleay Valley Arts Council and performed in the lovely little Oddfellows Hall. The next night we were in Stroud performing for the Saturday night of a weekend yoga retreat in Stroud Monastery, and finally on the Sunday we were in a yoga studio in Newcastle. Altogether we raised over $2000 for TCV, and had a good time and met some lovely people along the way too.

Tenzin and Shen in Stroud Monastery Hall

Tamil book launch

A few weeks ago I was invited to take part in a Tamil book launch being held in Inala. I accompanied the opening act, vocalist Roshni Gopalakrishnan, and later in the programme performed with some of my tabla students. Thanks to Sriram for inviting us to participate.

 Shen with Roshni Gopalakrishnan

Tabla Tarrango at the Tamil Vazhai function - Tito, Thejan, Jesinthan, Sanjey. Thejan had just appeared as Krishna in a Tamil drama, hence the costume.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Tibet2Timbuk2 in Coffs Harbour with Yuki

Tibet2Timbuk2 recently had a show helping to raise funds for CWON (Child Welfare Organization of Nepal) at a concert in Coffs Harbour. On the drive down Tenzin asked Yuki if she would join us for a couple of songs, which turned out beautifully! Yuki opened the show with a short mantra and lovely bhajan, then joined us for Crane Song, Tso Marpo and the finale Aum Mani Padme Hum. In the process we helped to raise $2000 for Nepali kids, and we were then treated to a fun party by the CWON crew.  Many thanks to Calida Neal and her father Neville Neal for bringing us down to Coffs Harbour.

Tibet2Timbuk2 with Yuki Taniguchi Flindell
I did a short tabla demonstration with my usual finale - "Rabbit, Deer, Lion"

Gold Coast Multicultural Festival and home concert with Tenzin

In mid-September I had a double header with a morning concert on the Gold Coast followed by an afternoon home concert near Mullumbimby. Tabla Tarrango! (my tabla student performing group) participated in the Gold Coast Multicultural Festival. (Here's a link to last year's performance there.) Tenzin and I then had to rush down to a beautiful home on the ridge above Mullumbimby for one of his "For Tibet with Love" series of fundraising home concerts, where we were unexpectedly joined by the lovely violin of Cye Wood.

Tabla Tarrango at Gold Coast Multicultural Festival - Thejan (12), Shen, Nitin (14),  Tito (16)

 Shen, Tenzin and Cye exploring the sonic sphere. Cye had never heard our songs before which made it all the more a spontaneous and inspired journey.

The view from our home concert stage.

Pete Lockett

In early September I got the chance to see UK world music multi-percussionist Pete Lockett performing and to meet him after his show. He was performing as part of the Drumscene Live tour and borrowed a set of tabla from me for his clinic and show. I've been working many years with my tabla maker in Varanasi, Anwar, to produce great tabla which satisfy Australian Quarantine's strict conditions. I'm glad to have been able to help Pete out with some tabla and was happy that he liked the sound. 

I'm sorry to say that while I'd heard his name before, I'd never heard Pete Lockett's music until he got in touch with me to arrange the tabla. Having had the opportunity to listen to quite a few of his albums now I can highly recommend him to all world music percussion fans out there. We enjoyed the performance which featured not only tabla but darabuka, cajon, and plenty of vocal percussion along with a nice ambient backing track. Lots of dynamism and tonal variety. During the show Pete also demonstrated his new iPhone/iPad app, DrumJam - one finger percussion, check it out!

 Pete Lockett playing my tabla at the Drumscene Live Brisbane concert - you might recognise the non-leather binding, especially made to clear Australian Quarantine.