Music Monday with a Maestro 7: Rela by Pt Swapan Chaudhuri

We have heard tabla in all of the Music Mondays, but not as the main instrument. Today’s Music Monday faetures tabla as main instrument rather than the accompanying instrument.

This video is of one the best tabla players in the world today – Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, who is fondly knwon as Swapanda. When I saw this rela, all I could say was Kya Baat!

I hope this is an inspiration to tabla players out there.


Music Monday with a Maestro #6: Pt Arjun Mishra

In hindi, the word sangeet encompasses both music and dance. When the term shastriya sangeet is translated to Indian classical music, the translation is not 100% correct.

The Music Monday series has a focus on shastriya sangeet so I am considering the Indian meaning of the term and sharing a classical dance video today.

This video is of Pandit Arjun Mishra. When I first saw this video, I was thoroughly impressed with his power and control. His chakars are outstanding and his footwork controlled and precise. There are many stories of his dedication to Kathak and how he would practice through the night to master compositions given to him that day. You can see his mastery in this video.

Music Monday with a Maestro #5: Rare Sarod Duet

Today’s music monday features a rare duet performance by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Ustad Dyanesh Khan.   Khansaheb has left behind a wonderful legacy and was a great ambassador of Indian classical music to the world.   Countless artists discovered the beauty of Indian classical music through his music, work and school.   This video is beautiful duet performance that I think you will all enjoy.  Raga is Chandranandan.

The video features a young Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri on tabla.

Music Mondays with a Maestro 3: Kaushiki Desikan

I move from the legends of Indian classical music to one of the most powerful vocalists of the new generation of India today – Kaushiki [Chakrabarty] Desikan, the daughter of Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty.

Kaushiki has made her music her own. Armed with a rigourous taalim and immense talent, she has carved her own niche and style, creating her own identity as a musician. She sings effortlessly, which only adds beauty to her music. In this video, she has rendered a song that was made iconic by Shreemati Shobha Gurtu. She has re-interpreted the bandish, given some beautiful taans and sung it in her own style, which in itself is praise worthy considering how closely it is associated with Shobha Gurtu.

She is a vocalist that I would recommend everyone hear live when the opportunity presents itself.


Pandit Divyang Vakil

Talavya taking Surat by Storm

From January 28 to 30th, Suratis saw the first edition of its classical music festival called Surotsav.   It featured a stellar line-up including Ustad Rashid Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain and more.  The only Gujarati artists featured was our very own Talavya (formerly known as Tabla Ecstasy) composed by Pandit Divyang Vakil.    The group performed before Pandit Birju Maharaj and his group.   Given the news that shook the classical music community only days earlier, the festival was in honour of late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and it was a wonderful way for Rhythm Riders to pay tribute to this legend.

Talavya (comprised of Rushi Vakil, Kaumil Shah, Sahil Patel and Rahul Shrimali with accompaniment on saarangi by Ilyas Khan) could not have asked for a better reception.   The audience of over 2000 showered them with love and affection during and at the conclusion of the performance.   A highlight of the night was when Pandit Birju Maharaj personally met with the artists to express his appreciation for the composition and talent of the artists.

Thank you Surat for a great night and we hope to see you soon!

Talavya (formerly Tabla Ecstasy) in Surat

Talavya (formerly Tabla Ecstasy) in Surat at Surotsav


Music Monday in honor of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi

Today, the legendary Pt. Bhimsen Joshi passed away and it goes without saying that our Music Monday with a Maestro would be in his honour.

In the words of Pandit Divyang Vakil:

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was my hero. I have heard some of the most divine singing from him, especially his Todi, Darbari, Bhairavi, Maru Bihag. Only his physical body has left, he and his music are immortal. He is one of the greatest illustrations of what a Indian classical musician should be. Great performer, true human and real Pandit. Rest in Peace.

Here is a kya baat performance by him.

Music Mondays with a Maestro #1

We promised lots of new activities in 2011 and are excited to share our first new endeavour: Music Mondays with a Maestro.

Every Monday, Rhythm Riders’ director Tabla Guru Pandit Divyang Vakil will be sharing an audio/video link that he particularly enjoys.  Its a great way for listeners (new and old) of Indian music to hear music curated by a maestro.

We begin the series with the legendary late Pt. Nikhil Bannerjee.   The youtube video is an old recording of the maestro playing Raag Jogiya with accompaniment by a young Pt. Anindo Chatterjee on tabla.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and have a musical Monday!