Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dha Dha gegenage

Oh's been almost 2 months! Who'dve imagined that the spring and summer would be so busy? ;)

So, a treat! Here's a composition very close to my heart: Dha Dha gegenage...

<a href="">Dha Dha gegenage by Tala-Wallah</a>

UPDATED. I've edited the text below, given that I have some new information...

This might raise some eyebrows, since, as far as I can tell, it's an unusual version of this composition

This was taught to me by Ritesh Das, my first teacher, and Ritesh's first teacher, Shankar Ghosh, taught it to him.

I have heard a number of different versions of this composition, though I've never formally learned any other version. When I play this version for most tabla players, I am immediately corrected...tabla controversy! BUT: this is the Jnan Prakash Ghosh version. That is my understanding, anyway. There are other versions.

This is a Chalan, more specifically, and Chalan-Kaida. Chalan means movement or flow.

Chalan is a pretty wide-ranging compositional form...some Chalans are short, fixed compositions, like the famous:
DhatiDha - DhatighenaThunakena DhatiDha -
KreDhet - Dhagena Ti - Dhatighena thunnakena
Ti - kttk Ti - kttk Ta trkttk Ta trkttk
trkttgDha trkt DhatiDhagena DhatiDhagena

This type has only a few versions, and is presented more like a gat, thukra or chakradar. Others are structured more like Kaidas, i.e. theme and variations, and, as I learned yesterday, even Peshkar-Chalans exist. Excellent! The Reese's peanutbutter cup of tabla compositions! ;)

So, here's the little history I've gleaned: The original version was modified (re-composed?) by Jnan Prakash Ghosh, and is more Na-heavy than the original. There is a story that someone played this new version for tabla giant Karamatullah Khan, and his response not terribly positive. Still...Jnan Pakash Ghosh was unquestionably a master tabla player and composer, and I adore this composition. I'd love to learn the other one(s).

This is another one of those very deep tabla compositions...the more I play it, the more the possibilities open up. I thought it was all about NaNa when I first learned it years ago....then Dhene seemed to be defining things...of course Tete is it's own universe as well...and the baya is like long, slow ocean swells....if I could get them all singing and flowing together, equally balanced, I think the picture would be complete. Actually...I think that the beauty of this composition is that different elements come into focus as the kaida progresses. The art is in being able to smoothly and seamlessly draw the ear from one to another as they develop.

Check out Dhene for sets up its own pattern within the complexity around it, and the first bunch of variations highlight Dhene, creating lovely little patterns. Then, TageTeteGhege comes into focus, then Nanaghene...heh...this is rather too subjective. If you zoom in on other elements, you'll hear different things. Very cool. I LOVE tabla.

What else...I did the lehara myself this time...I might record someone else playing later. I'm trying to coordinate with a dilruba player. OH! and I love that Ta is on sur in the 2nd part of the theme and variations (TegeTete gege), and the way the 2nd part morphs in size to accommodate the first part tickles me to no end.

Things start with a short tihai (from khali), then directly into the theme, single speed, then double. No theka, I know I know, bad Talawallah!, but I like the intensity of this composition, and didn't want to have a drawn-out introduction.

Hope everyone is having a grand summer!

Thanks to my teacher and good friend Subhajyothi Guha for the history of this composition, and to Kirby Shelstad and Don Robertson who initially identified it as a Chalan on Facebook. Thanks!

Percolates. I wanted to use percolates in here somewhere, but it didn't fit. Percolates.