Author Message
Young Players May 31, 2002 12:56 p.m.


I went to see Zakir Hussain in April(Winbledon, South London) and Talvin Singh played a bit(a small solo). I first saw him playing ten years ago(I had no clue what tabla was) and once more in a night club few years later but in April when I saw him I wasn't impressed by what I heard and saw. Perhaps he is doing a lot of non traditional wersten stuff and so it affects a bit his(traditiona) playing.
I also just got a cd of Sanju Sahai-son of Sarda sahai and he is very good. Great bayan and he feels almost like Swapan Chaudhuri. Great future ahead of him I see.

What do you guys think about these two players?


Re:Young Players Jun 01, 2002 05:43 p.m.

I haven't heard Talvin Singh, but Zakir's playing I am very familiar with. Zakir is great in Shakti, but traditional tabla solos are not at same level as for example Swapan Chaudhuri's or Kishen Maharaj's in my opinion.

Memorable tabla duet is Zakir's and Alla Rakha's best recording that I know.Zakir's playing doesn't often have the nine rasas as it supposed to have. Zakir's tabla solos are not as deep as they supposed to be.

In my opinion the best tabla players are Thirakwa, Kishen Maharaj, Swapan Chaudhuri and maybe Sarda Sahai. I know conversation about Zakir raises a lot of opinions.

P.S. Rod, I ordered Sarda Sahai's Play tabla (video+book).

Re:Young Players Jun 02, 2002 12:45 a.m.

I would like to add the names of two late pandijees that nobody has mentioned recently: Pt. Chatur Lal and the great Mahapurush Mishra.
They are incredible!!!
M. Mishra has an agresive, full tone, way of playing that i love, I have a recording of him (lehra by Ali Akbar Khan) playing a solo tabla in Taal Rupam of 8 1/2 matras!!!!!!
Re:Young Players Jun 02, 2002 09:44 a.m.

i love singh's playing. although im sure your right in saying his trad playing is weak compared to others. but i dont think thats necessarily what hes going for. he (and others recently) are simply trying to integrate thier heritage with thier culture. and i think it works well in his case (kale's too).

as for zakir, i never really thought of him as a "young" player maybe its because hes been around more than 10 years or because im only 29 myself. but ive been impressed with his command of the instrument so far.

ive found that in all music, on any instrument, if you are trying to integrate older things with the new, its a challange. there are certain things ingrained into the tradition of a style or instrument, that dont necessarily fit with this new blend. and therefore the players of that instrument or style can be seen as inferior to others that play in the tradition. could singh hold his own in the trad style against some of the others youve mentioned? im sure not. but could they play with his band and turntables? its all a matter of context. its all about the music as a whole, not any one player. unless of course we're talking solos

Re:Young Players Jun 02, 2002 10:25 a.m.

I just bought a tape at an Indian spice store with Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain on it. I'm interested to know if you think Alla Rakha lacks depth in his tabla solos also? I haven't heard alot of the other masters everyone has mentioned becuase its hard to find recordings here where I live in Oklahoma. Ill have to order them I guess.
Re:Young Players Jun 02, 2002 10:30 a.m.

Also what is nine rasas?
Re:Young Players Jun 02, 2002 11:46 a.m.

Wow i just heard Thirakwa on a website I like to get alot of Indian music from, and I must say he is Really amazing. Can anyone tell me more about him? The recording i found sounds old and crusted. Any really good recordings of his you might suggested?
Re:Young Players Jun 02, 2002 05:35 p.m.

id be interested in some decent recordings of these guys too, maybe someone can start a new string with some recomendations ?
Re:Young Players Jun 03, 2002 01:14 a.m.

Thirakwa has at least two CDs :Live in Bombay 1964 and Drums of India. Live in Bombay is a 1 hour solo. He is estimated to be about 75 years at that time. It's truly amazing! Drums of India has short excerpts from mostly Thirakwa, but also from Samta Prasad, Amir Hussain Khan and pakhawaj player Madhavrao Alkutkar. The sound quality is not very good, but the playing is. You want to hear Thirakwa as much as possible, so...

Other good recording Swapan Chaudhuri: The majestic tabla of Swapan Chaudhuri and all Kishen Maharaj's recordings. I also listen a lot of Sarda Sahai's The art of Benares baj. I have a lot of different recordings from different players, but those are the ones, that I listen the most. I also have recordings at least from Alla Rakha, Zakir, Samta Prasad, Kumar Bose, Anindo Chatterjee, Bhai Gaitonde, Nizzamuddin Khan, Sabir Khan, Gottlieb's book (Keramatullah, Maharaj, Wajid Hussain, Inam Ali Khan and Habibuddin).

Nine rasas are all the different feelings that ones playing must contain. The same as different ragas. In my opinion it has a lot to do with dynamics, suprising rhythmic phrasing, using of different speeds vicely and telling a story. One thing must lead to another.

I think Alla Rakha is building up solos more slowly and he has very nice rhythmic phrasing in for example peshkars. He has great rhythmic
suprises every ones in a while. It's about style and certain humble attitude. No short cuts, develop ideas and then release the tension.
Alla Rakha was in my opinion better, than Zakir. Sometimes Zakir plays well, but very often it doesn't have "that thing".


Re:Young Players Jun 03, 2002 12:52 p.m.

Hello Jake;
Being a sitarist, I usually only browse this forum, but I thought I'd put my opinion up here. Being of an older generation, I grew up listening to Ravi Shankar and his tablaji of 15 years, Ustad Alla Rakha. So, you can see I'm terribly biased! I've heard many excellent tablajis over the decades. But he made such an impression on me with his level of capability and creativity, that I compare all others to him as the "standard". Zakir is Alla Rakha's son and so inherited much from his father. But, every professional does develop their own style in time. Perhaps it would be best to evaluate each performer on his own merits? I know that's hard to do, but it does make sense. Zakir is an excellent player in his own right! Thanks for your time....
Re:Young Players Jun 06, 2002 10:21 a.m.


I wasn't refering to Zakir as a young player. I only mentioned him because it was at his concert that I saw Talvin singh.
The other young player I refered to was Sanju Sahai, son of Sharda Sahai. I think he is very good and will get much better. Anyone heard him before?
When I said "traditional " playing I didn't mean it in the strictest sense of the word. More like "fine tabla solo playing" I meant.

for Jake: after playing the bumika, uthan, mohara and mukhra and before playing the bant you will want to play the Benaras theka(equivalent to a peshkar). I give u the theme.

It starts in Layakari-Barabar and just like peshkar it can have more complicated and fast phrases(including phrases in ari ) on the variations.

Dha--kra Dhinna DhaTin Tinna
Ta--kra Dhinna DhaDhin Dhinna

tha last na u can play as dha.
I think it is also called Barhant. U can hear Pt Sharda Sahai playing it very nicely on his "The Art of the Benares Baj "
Cd. Remember to play the bayan with lots of feeling.

happy variations.

Re:Young Players Jun 08, 2002 01:24 a.m.

Thank you for that Rod. I've been listening lately a lot of Kishen Maharaj, Sarda Sahai and Kumar Bose trying to find my way of playing improvised Uthan's or Amad's.I am beginning to find it.
I have Gottlieb's book so there is transcription of Maharaj's solo and I can see the typical Uthan bols. Maharaj's solo in Gottlieb's two book and two casette set is unbelievably good. When you see the transcriptions and hear the playing. It's simply amazing. I have done some ground work before I get the video and book, so I'll be ready. Rod I have to go and practice.I have still about 8-9 hours to go for this day.
Tabla Lover
Re:Young Players Jun 11, 2002 04:09 p.m.

I have a few suggestions for you guys, if I may. I have been reading this discussion for a while and couldn't resist to do the following.

Try and listen to the maestros of 6 schools (the best of six schools) of tabla players, not necessarily the order I have given. And with a little bit of luck, if you try a little harder, you can find their recording in the net or in the market. They are:

1) Delhi School or "baaj" - Listen to Ustad Latif Ahmad Khan.

2) Luckhnow School or "baaj" - Listen to Ustad Afaque Hussain Khan.

3) Farrukhabad school or "baaj" - Listen to Ustad Ahmad Jan Thirakwa or Ustad Keramtullah Khan (Sabir's father).

4) Ajrada School or "baaj" - Listen to Ustad Habibuddin Khan.

5) Benaras School or "baaj" - Listen to Pandit Anokhelal Mishra or Pt. Kanthe Maharaj (Kishen Maharj's father).

6) Punjab School or "baaj" - Listen to Ustad Feroz Khan saheb or Ustad Qader Bux or Ustad Shaukat Hussain.

They were the maestros of the yesteryears who influenced the art of tabla playing with gharanadar (school -ish) compositions, quaidas, relas, parans and many many original compositions. Some of which are lost in time. But If you are lucky, when I say "lucky" what I really mean is you have look for it hard in different parts of India in recording format or otherwise, believe me some of those recordings still exist, then you can see the influence of each art form and playing style among the contemporaries. What you guys are listening to right now in the hands of Zakirism or Anindoism or otherwise -- very little original stuff is played -- not necessairly always being followed. The true "baaj" and its maestros I mentioned above is slowly fading away. You must judge it for yourself what once was and what you are listening to. The appreciation of tabla and its contemporaries will only increase then. And your knowledge of tabla will then be enormously benefited. Good luck.

Re:Young Players Jun 12, 2002 10:49 a.m.

I agree with you. Old recordings are very important and also hard to find. Gottlieb's book covers those 6 different gharanas.
Peyman Nasehpour
Re:Young Players Jun 12, 2002 07:07 p.m.

Dear Tabla Lovers,

I am a tabla lover and sometimes open this forum to get the news.

Every tabla player is okay for me and I love all of them and respect to all of them.

Zakir Hussain is the most famous tabla player in my country, Iran (Persia) and I know many people who love him.

But I as a professional tonbak player believe that we should not discuss on this subject that who plays better than the others!

If you like the music listen to it, if not then put it away!

Best wishes,

Peyman Nasehpour

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