Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is a composition I learned recently from Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, and it's lovely, groovy and very fun to play. The strokes aren't terribly complicated (then again, I'm not playing it terribly fast) but the shapes are very interesting. The theme is a reduction (aka Gopuccha Yati) 9-8-6-3 DgTnkn and it features lots of sur strokes and very active baya. Great practice, as the naDhi combinations are tricky to nail accurately at speed, lots of off-beats (1/8 & 1/4 beat), and the variations are exquisite: phrases of 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3 all make an appearance; a series where sam* is hidden; compound variations with internal tihais...a real goldmine of rhythmic tools! The tihai...well, the tihai is a mind-bender to be sure ;)

About the recording:
Another exotic location! I spent 2 dreamy weeks at the Banff Centre in Alberta Canada, rehearsing and creating with my band Autorickshaw and a 5-piece brass band before going on tour. Each musician at the Banff Centre gets their own rehearsal space, in my case, a small hut. I took a portable recording solution (laptop, small USB interface and 1 microphone) to test it out for my upcoming trip to India, and I recorded this one morning to see what the setup produced, quality-wise.

My music hut in the mountains
I didn't really intend this for the blog...I was noodling a bit before playing the composition, and it didn't cut the mustard, hence the abrupt beginning. I recycled one of George Koller's dilruba tracks for the lehara.

The portable setup doesn't capture the baya as well as I'd like, but I think that's a combination of the room (tiny, soundproof), the mic, and the almost total lack of humidity in Banff, which is at an elevation of 1,463 m (4,800 ft) in the Rocky Mountains. I have never, ever had such a hard time keeping my drums in tune, but the beauty of the surroundings offset that a bit. :)

My music hut, from slightly farther away...
I performed a short (52 Kaidas-style) tabla solo in concert while we were at the Banff Centre, and I'm waiting to get a copy from them. If it's passable, I'll post it.

*Sam=the first beat of the rhythmic cycle, aka the downbeat.


  1. Very nice composition. Where do you get lessons from Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri?

  2. Hi Praveen,
    Check this link:


  3. It´s a very nice composition. Thanks for writing the basic bols. Now trying to figure out all the paltas you play. It seems easy but at some speeds I can´t be sure if I am doing exactly the same.

    I learned with a teacher for 6 years or so, and now following your blog and trying to learn some things you play is for me like having an advanced tabla method. So many thanks.


  4. Hi Acelga,
    Thanks for your comment, and apologies for not replying to your email yet (I did get it, just waay busy lately).

    so glad you're learning from the blog!!


  5. Hi Talla-Wallah
    With this kaida I was really busy for some days. The tihai was a pain in the butt with some extra "Ghe" that I missed first, but finally I figured it out by slowing down the track. Now I have to practice it until I can play it at higher speed!
    Thanks for your work and I´m looking forward to the next one!

  6. Hey Acelga, nice to hear that you are also learning from Ed's blog. Maybe you can post up a clips of you tackling some of these kaidas?

  7. Hey Praveen. Nope, unfortunately I can´t record anything but I´d really like to. I always wanted to start recording nice things, maybe mixing some tablas and other drums tuned in different tones, you know, but then I realized that one must buy several expensive things before to make a decent home recording (mics, prevs, mixers, preamps...etc). All that I have is a macbook but the built-in mic is really bad and the bayan just doesn´t sound if I record with it.
    I took a look at Ed´s stuff but I see he uses a nice equipment. I´m just looking for some cheap thing that can record nicely. :(
    Maybe some day! :)
    PD: Sorry for the offtopic :)