Sunday, April 30, 2006

I'm back...

Wahe Guru ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh

I'm back (though I did not go anywhere, I was always here). I was quiet and observing things. Just reading the blogs of the people around and seeing what they were doing.

I had a short trip to india and bought myself a 6 inch "chathu", realy neat , tuned to G on pehla kala. It has a deep pakhawaz sound and is REALLY heavy. I also had a chance to meet Surjit Singh ji's son (Gurtej singh). He helped me choose this chathu.

Angad is also in India at the moment as I write this blog. I also had a chance to see his Dilruba when he brought it once to my house few days ago(we tried tuning it and broke one of the strings :) ). That is alright. It's hard to break a tabla, but if it was fragile enough to be broken, I would have the highest number of records in that.

Anyway, the last few months have been quite intresting, life has smashed me couple of times in the face. It's been tough going. You dont want to make mistakes and in your effort to avoid, you end up making a blunder. I think that is how life goes on (it's a never ending learning process).

On my tabla front, I had to skip couple of my classes as I was house hunting. I resumed my classes just a few days ago. Yesterdays class was quite intresting, for a long time masterji has been trying to start the ticker in my mind (tabla rhythm and count) and yesterday I kind of understood what he was talking about.I mean this takes time, to tune your mind to play with your hands "the bols" in between the beat and remember the count. Blink of an eye and you have lost it. It would be easy to balance a needle on an another one than remembering that (for me it's THAT difficult right now). Well, there are people who have mastered it and few months ago Amardeep ji shared with me an article on "LayaBhaskar" Khaprumama.

I read it a couple of times and heard the recordings, if you are a budding tabla player it is quite difficlult to catch the beat and then there are variations on top of it which are being played in the middle, makes it all the more difficult to understand. But things like these make you feel that such kinds of complexity is possble in playing ( I mean you can write it down on a piece of paper and make it as complex as you want , but playing is a different ball game all together.)

Within the same article it also talks about Ahmad Jan. (Ahmad Jan ’Thirakhwa’ - solo on tabla) Now you have to hear his solo and if you concentrate a little bit you can catch the beat and count it all along ( dont let anybody disturb you when you are doing this) . He is playing Ek taal (12 beats). Liste to it , its is truly amazing. The best thing that Iike the clarity in his playing. I can imagine him play. Out of this world.

Lehkari is the spine of tabla playing and should be started at an early age, it takes a while to understand it. It is not difficult, just that you have to get the hang of it. Just that maths (I'm not scaring all you guys out there). You get so mad in this lehkari thing that you start imagining about this in everything. When I'm in the train going to office, I'm couting the beats in my fingers. Humming a shabad and counting the number of beats that fit in it. Slowly you also start making your own combinations. Start with a teen taal , play the first eight beats just like they are supposed to be and then start replacing the last 8 with something else.

You have to be careful in making such combinations ( I would not play any of these right now in public, till I know if it is correct to play anything like that).

Another web link that I would like to share is this. Taalmala - THE RHYTHM OF MUSIC AND DANCE. It has a bunch of taals starting from 6 beats to 28. Nice cheat sheet in case you hear of a taal you dont know of. I dont know how many taals there are in total, there are scores of them, books and books filled. This link is for us (the beginners). Let me know if there is somtehing more intresting out there on the same lines.

Dhik Chak, Dhik Chak,Dhik Chak, Dhik Chak... that is all I hear to what people are listening to nowdays on their Ipods. (I listen only from the point of view of the beats). Take any song, any language that is going around now days, slow or fast, it is nothing but 1..2..3..4.x1..2..3..4..x...( I feel that is really simple, there is definately melody and the voice of the person to enjoy in that )

I dont promise to be regular in writing, but would try. I dont know how many people read my blog, but that is fine. The idea is to capture the thought in my mind right now. Somebody might find it intresting.