Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jhaptal solo, Part 4 plus ANOTHER bonus video!

Tala-Wallah: Welcome back, dear readers. How was space?
Readers: Space was cool, wasn't it, Mini-Na?
Mini-Na: uh-huh
Number Two: While you were in space, I created a way for us to make huge sums of legitimate money, and still maintain the ethics and the business practices of a tabla organization. I have turned us into purveyors of psychedelic tabla videos!
Readers: O_o

So, in the continuing saga of Jhaptal solo vids, here are a pair of compositions.

The first is a Farukhabad Kaida-Rela I learned from Subhajyoti Guha, and the second a Kaida i learned from Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri.

Farukhabad Kaida-Rela

This is a very interesting composition:
Dha-kredhetete DhageTaka Dhinne Dhinnagene
Dhinne Dhinnagena Dhage TeteKreDhetete Dhage Take Dhinne Dhinnagena

Notice that the first Dhinne Dhinnagene is NE, not NA. The other two are NA.

So…if the stroke after DhinneDhinnageNA/NE is a Dha stroke, it's NA, if it's another Dhin, it's NE. It's an ergonmic thing. If you're playing it slow, you can do all Na's theoretically. But it's also a grammar thing…the double NA that happens when ending w Na is pretty sweet.

The variations have lots of entertaining twists and turns, but there is one interesting feature: when repeating a couple of DhinneDhinnagena strokes in a row, it alternates open / closed.

ThinneThinnakene etc.

And then reverses polarity in Khali: Thin/Dhin

Note that the composition abandons the Dha-KreDhetete Dhage part in the latter variations. You could totally spin off into an all DinneDhinnagene / DhaDhagene universe if you wanted to.

Lucknow Kaida

This is, as I mention in the video, a favourite (and yes, that's the Canadian spelling of that word). Also note: it's not that easy to play theka and talk over top, something I was discovering on the fly…hence the weird pauses and eeeeeeeextensions on worrrrrrds :P

I recorded this for the blog earlier, and you can read about it here: (2nd composition)
DhinneDhinnaGena DhageTereite DhatiDhageDhinnagena
Dha TrekeDhetete GhenaDhatiGhena DhatiDhageThinnakena

The variations are super sweet, with explorations of spaaaace, as well as a series that gets into some really wicked divisions: 4.5 and 5.5 (or 9 and 11 if you prefer). Then a reversal, then almost a Dhora (Ax3+B), but not quite, since the math wouldn't work. The tihai is different from the one Swapanji taught, and different from the one that I played in the other version: it's a small Mukra that Swapanji taught, and I thought it worked, both in personality and in an old-school short-and-to-the-point Tihai kinda way. The Kaida phrases get shorter and shorter, so i thought 'why not whittle it down to a nice sharp point: Dha'. 

I have a couple of old tabla solo recordings on Vinyl, including an Ahmedjan Thirakwa recording, and the tihais are so short sometimes, they're done before you even realize they're happening. A nice change from the increasingly elaborate math parties one can sometimes see (and which I love…not slagging tabla math parties at all!)

PS I've got a Youtube playlist going of the Jhaptal solo videos, so crack open a new tab in your browser, click here, and let them run in the background while you go about your nefarious internet business. 

Bonus Video time!

This is a video for (a slight remix of) the first track in this post:

I will just post the description I wrote for the Youtube page, as it'll make about as much sense as anything else I could possibly write about this video:
The future of Tablavision technology is here! The cats at Tala-Wallah Cathode Ray Science present the astounding: 'Tabla-Matic Tuning model 2161'. If tabla is your bag (and it should be) then this is the scene for you!

Just think! Without budging from your easy chair, you can turn your new Tabla-Matic set on, off, or change channels! You can even shut off those annoying commercials! Just a flash of light does it*! So take 5, kick off your zoot suit and get fractured, boogie man! It's supermurgitroidally out of this world! Hey Mommy-O and Daddy-O, dig this: There are no cords or wires even! Capable of all rhythmic resolutions from 3 to 128 beats! It will astound you, and provide hours of entertainment for the whole family! Fully compatible with the model 420 Kaleido-percept-o-tron stereo-enhanca-matic.

*Absolutely harmless to humans.

This is a Public Domain/CC BY-SA service announcement brought to you by the finger-zingers, skins players and tab-slappers at Tala-Wallah Studios, and remember:

Tabla is Good for You!

You can download the air check of this hot plate from this screenshow here:



Don't even ask. Even my mom thought I was weird.

It started out as another experiment, this time using video from the Prelinger Archives which is a very large collection of old, now Public Domain films, and then it went a little sideways, to say the least. But fun to make for sure. (insert image of me giggling to myself incessantly)

And remember: if you like what I do, feel free to support me. There are tracks and albums for sale here and you can even play-what-you-want! With Paypal, or a credit card even! Isn't that exciting? It totally makes my day when Paypal sends me a message and says there's $1 in my account!

Until next time, 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jhaptal solo, live, part 3, plus Bonus Video!!

Ok, back to serious business. No explosions or rotoscoped tabla footage. Just one single Kaida. The same Kaida as in the previous tabla-delic post though, for contrast.

I learned this from Pt Suresh Talwalkar in Pune during the Jhaptal Breakdown period. As soon as I heard it, I was in love. The strokes are simple:

Dha-treke Dhinnagena
DhageTete DhageTreke Dhinnagena
DhagenaDha TrekeDhene
DhageTete DhageTreke Thinnakena

Everythink on Kinar, 2 finger Tete.

There are a whole bunch of interesting interactions going on here.
Hey buddy. Treke has TWO flams.
Not. Just. ONE. Got it?

Treke and Tete are really close sonically, but have very different characters, but ONLY if you can get the 't-re' and 'k-re' flams happening. Treke is kind of a squashed Terekite, and can sometimes be a shortform of Terekite…play a Terekite kaida, and replace Terekite w Treke, or vice-versa.
Treke is sort of   rather than   •  •  in the same space. The 2nd flam in Treke is easier (it's essentially a Kre), but that first one…well, it is there one minute, then you speed up and whoosh! it's gone.

The real driving energy for me comes from the Dhinnagena DHA / Dhene DHA groupings. It just has a certain momentum….Dha is the end of a sentence, not the beginning, if that makes sense. The 'Tun' sounds drive into and hilight the Dha.

The Kaida is broken down right along the fault lines of the Tala: 2, 3, 2, 3 and the variations tell such a lovely story, with really small, gradual, incremental changes going on.

Treke Dhinnagena becomes DhageTreke Dhene, and then GhenaDhage Treke

There is a really pretty (albeit concentration testing) transmogrification where we go from

both parts the same:
Dhinagena Dhene…. Dhinagena Dhene

to 2nd pat different:
Dhinnagena Dhene …. Dhene Dhinnagena

to first part joins 2nd part:
Dhene Dhinagena …. Dhene Dhinagena

over the course of a few variations.

The Tihai is something else though: its called a Nauhakka (or Nohakka) tihai. The exact same phrase (including gaps) happens nine times (with a total, in this case, of 27 Dhas). It rolls and rolls and rolls and if you're not paying attention, well….Sam will sneak up on you. It's tricky to define each Palla actually…they can all sort of blend into one another if you're not careful. I flavoured each one differently in the Ten Ragas version, but went straight at it here. It has a kind of floaty relentlessness.

As I mentioned in the Ten Talas post, it leapt out at me as perfect for some kind of non-trad treatment, which brings me once again to comment on the versatility of tabla. It challenges the perception I think a lot of people have of 'drumming' as just a stream of boinks and bonks and thwacks on a drum (heard any good drummer jokes lately? Tabla=/= Bongos!!). There's a deep music here, a rich musical language, and the practice and performance of that language can really change both the player and audience. What else. Oh….

The blog had a makeover! I'm sure you noticed.
Orange and purple!
It's the FUTURE!

I updated the template, and lo and behold! Tabs!! Wow. The possibilties are endless! We are talking triple rainbow potential here people! There's an Albums tab, for just music. A Video tab for just videos, aaaaand the mooooooost exciting thing ever….wait for it….…a GLOSSARY!!

If you're new here, or new to Tabla in general, it might be handy to keep open in another tab. I realize a lot of terminology gets tossed around, and I can't redefine every word in every post.

Anyway…in an effort to keep everyone on the same page, terminology-wise, a glossary is useful.

Now it's Bonus Video time!

Wherein the author does a slight remix of a prevously recorded track (scroll down to #4, Lucknow Rela), and cuts video to it. But not any video. Outerspace video, man. Are you seeing a theme here yet?

I'm developing some Finalcut skills for a video for an upcoming track. It's a solo in Chartal Ki Sawari (11 beats) with material drawn from a workshop with Pt Swapan Chaudhuri. There might be 2 versions of the audio. I'm not sure yet. The one I really really want to make is a kind of massive production, and somewhat daunting on the costliness side of things, what with hiring musicians (sitar, drums, bass and keys) and an engineer and renting a studio. Wanna hear that? Buy some tracks people! I might start an Indiegogo campaign actually.

Did you know that almost all NASA photographs and video are public domain? That today is the 46th anniversary of Star Trek (the original series, puh-leassse)? That this site exists?
Swigert: 'Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here.'
Houston: 'This is Houston. Say again please.'
Lovell: 'Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus Tabla solo.'
Houston: ' ... O_o '