Saturday, May 29, 2010

DhageTete GheGheTete

This edition of 52 kaidas features an apparently simple* tintal kaida from the Lucknow gharana. Actually, more like 2 kaidas, with a strong family resemblance. Lucknow twins, perhaps? I think of them as parent and child, but either one works.

<a href="">DhageTete GheGheTete by Tala-Wallah</a>

DhageTeteGheGheTete KeTaGheGhe Terekite / DhageTeteGheGheTete KeTaGheGhe NaNaGhene

and, starting at 3:13:

KeTaGheGheTerekite / KeTaGheGheNaNaGhene

The 2nd one I learned a long time ago in a workshop with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, and the first one I've kind of pieced together from listening and practicing. More on that later...

I say apparently simple because the strokes are not complicated, and appear very straightforwardly square at first glance. In fact, the 2nd chapter, KeTaGheGheTerekite...doesn't even have any combination strokes at all until the tihai: everything is individual RH or LH strokes. Should be easy, right? Beginner composition, right? HA! Very tricky, and uniquely so, in my repertoire anyway.

Ever try to brush your teeth with your left hand? (flip of you're a southpaw) Ouch. A friend of mine studied with the Kodo Drummers on Sado Island in Japan for a year, and the first thing they did when he arrived was forbid him from using his right hand for anything....chopsticks? LH. Brush up the teeth? LH. Throw/catch? LH. Write, cook, clean, you name it?....LH. This was to try to break the RH's dominance, and make his drum strokes more balanced. (It worked, by the way....he's practically ambidextrous at this point).

In this kaida, the bass drum leads the way, and it is a fantastic way to develop baya prowess, stamina, speed, strength and control. [<- things tabla players dream about]

The LH conundrum aside, and despite the 'simple' strokes, the kaida is very lush and fertile, with lots of possibilities for improvisation. The elements that make up the theme are very small and compact, and fit together like puzzle pieces...including the fact that some pieces don't fit together at all, so you have to spend time with it to learn the ins-and-outs. As usual, I feel like I could practice this every day for a year, and still have farther to go....but then my already glacial pace of posting would completely grind to a halt!

As mentioned, I've never had a formal class on DGTTGGTTKTGGTRKT. I have a practice exercise based on it, and I've heard Swapanji play it a number of times, so I have worked on it over the years, developing a few of my own variations, and trying to lift as many off recordings as possible. The fit with KTGGTRKT is so obvious that I glom them together into a big extendo-super-kaida!

Couple things to note:

I have heard Farukhabad Gharana versions of both of these kaidas with one important difference: it seems that Farukhabad plays the Ta on gab/sihai, while Lucknow plays the Ta on sur. It makes a HUGE difference, not only in the character of the composition, but in the variations that can be made. I like both, but am partial to sur, as you might have noticed. ;)

In fact, there are probably dozens of versions of this composition, possibly from different Gharanas, with slightly different strokes (Dhene NaNaGhene instead of GheGheNaNaGhene for example)...feel free to share if you have any! and feel free to chime in if you have history or stories.

Another interesting point to note is that KTGGTRKT follows an unusual form for a kaida: rather than the usual binary Bhari-Khali form where the same phrase is played twice with Bhari and Khali falling over the 2 phrases, this one is a four-parter:

Bhari-Bhari-Khali-Bhari or Open-Open-Closed-Open

Similar to Tintal theka, n'est-ce pas? Usually I see this type of form with relas, especially when the phrases are very short, but not usually with kaidas. The variations follow the form Bh-Bh-Kh-Bh form for the most part, but there are 2 regularly proportioned ones in there, one directly from Swapanji, and one of mine.

What else....let's see: I recorded this twice, because my baya was tuned waaay too low the first time (it was raining) and it just didn't translate into the recording (still...slap on those headphones people!) PLUS the C# drum didn't agree with my usual mics or mic'ing technique for some mysterious reason, so I rented a nice AKG 414 for a month. :D

I plan on upping the posting pace while I have this mic, so stay tuned.

Almost forgot: there are 2 other compositions in this recording!

Things open up with a Chakradar that is based on one I learned from Swapanji. I did a bol-swap to make it pertinent to the kaidas in focus (with apologies to Swapanji). In other words, I adored the calculation, and adapted it to fit the theme of this post. It features one of my very favourite rhythmic devices: the reduction (aka Gopuccha Yati in Karnatic music).


The recording closes with a Farukhabad Gharana Gat (Gat=fixed composition, usually very rich in varied stroke combinations) that I learned from Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. I don't have any history on this one (composer etc) but it has lots of open tabla strokes (din, dheneghene, dhenenanaghene etc to contrast with the total lack of those strokes elsewhere in the post), and a very nice very compact tihai.

Deepest respect and thanks to my friend Prosad, who played sitar on the recording. Check his stuff out here. And here and here.

Finally, in what is rapidly becoming a 52Kaidas tradition, I have a music recommendation.

I think my dear friend Memsaab absolutely nailed it when she intro'd him on her fabtastic blog, and I'm stealing it: meet Tamilian Renaissance Man Wilbur Sargunaraj.

Put it this way: I smiled so much the first week I had his album that my face hurt. And that was before I dug into his 38-and-counting youtube videos, his eye-popping website and started following him on Facebook, where he's super-humanly hyper-actively engaging with his fans on a daily basis.

Ahem...I give you the newly adopted theme song for 52 Kaidas: Blog Song

<a href="">Blog Song by Wilbur Sargunaraj</a>

Chicken 65 is also mouth and eye watering-ly fantastic, and Melanin Man is another fav, albeit on the more serious side. You know what?....the whole album is good. Buy it from Bandcamp and all the $$ goes directly to him.

Love Marriage is the big 400,000+ hit breakout youtube viral video.

I think that's all....I hope you enjoy.


*as if anything in tabla is 'simple'. Who am I kidding?? ;)