mesmerising rhythms
August 12, 2006 11:55 AM   Subscribe

The tabla is the most popular and widely used drum of North India. Origins (embedded sound and mp3) of the tabla and tabla bols, the fascinating spoken sounds of the percussive beat. [more]
posted by nickyskye (19 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Classic tabla played by Subhankar Banerjee.

Samples of the individual sounds, rhythm patterns and what the drum heads look like.

Positions of the hands and examples of different musicians playing tabla.

A short film about the history of Indian music and instruments.

An online documentary, information about Indian music and footage about pioneering work in the use of computers for Indian music.

The tabla princess,track #11. Rimpa Siva, speaking the tabla bols, then playing them.

Tabla fusion.

Lamely hilarious tabla comedy: The latest Happy Tabla & Happy Singer Guy skit features remakes of Drop it Like it's Hot by Snoop, Let's Get Retarded by the Black Eyed Peas and more!
posted by nickyskye at 11:55 AM on August 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

And then there's this guy.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:01 PM on August 12, 2006

Better link to examples of different tabla musicians.
posted by nickyskye at 12:02 PM on August 12, 2006

Don't forget Aloke Dutta, the tabla master that taught Danny Carey of Tool.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:06 PM on August 12, 2006

An earlier posted link on Indian classical music.
posted by Gyan at 12:09 PM on August 12, 2006

Best tabla I ever saw:

During summer (or was it spring break?) vacation at my very small university, I noticed a lot of obvious non-students entering the university auditorium. My friend and I asked what was going on - it turns out that Ravi Shankar was having some sort of birtday concert. I knew that there was a door in the back of the men's bathroom that led into the eves of the building, and that the door was sometimes unlocked, so I convinced the guy at the door of the auditorium (who was obviously a non-Uni-related person and therefore knew nothing of secret-ish doors) to just let us go into the restroom for a second to take a whiz. The door was indeed unlocked, and so we climbed through all the unlit back innards of the building to the best viewpoint: the lights. It was hot as hell, but I got to see directly down onto the stage, saw the tabla players hands, saw Ravi Shankar, and saw George Harrison, who was apparently there to help Ravi Shankar celebrate his birthday. Not bad, for free. We left the building during intermission so that we could mix with the crowd and avoid the guard who let us in (and was probably wondering why we were in the bathroom for several hours).
posted by Bugbread at 12:16 PM on August 12, 2006

bugbread you didn't say who played tabla at Ravi Shankar's birthday concert, but when I saw Ravi Shankar perform (1967!) he was accompana-, accomp--, uh, Alla Rakha played the tabla.
I'd rather hear Alla Rakha run through the bols than play the tabla, I love that stuff. But he's dead now, I think.
posted by revonrut at 1:17 PM on August 12, 2006

Great post. A wealth of information. Muchas gracias!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:20 PM on August 12, 2006

And I was describing the spoken tabla thingy to a friend just the other night...

Sheila Chandra does some very nice spoken tabla - on *Weaving my Ancestors' Voices* and I think one or two other CDs from that era of her work. *The Zen Kiss* might be another one, from memory.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 PM on August 12, 2006

I love me some tablas. Such a cool instrument....
posted by Eekacat at 5:44 PM on August 12, 2006

Great post, nickyskye, per usual.

I like the tabla, but I really like playing the riq, which features in a lot of middle eastern folk music. [non-trad. sample] [Raquay, a dumbek player, on the riq, I believe]
posted by shoepal at 7:52 PM on August 12, 2006

I love tabla! They get the most extraordinary sound. Thanks nickyskye.

Best I saw was on the ghats at Varanasi. A 48 hour continuous indian classical instrument jam session with 10 people on stage at a time and about 50 players all told, changing over every now and then. Just about the best thing I've seen in my life. Wish I knew who was playing.

Every hour the crescendo would rise to some sort of orgasmic frenetic wall of sound and bells would be rung and all the musicians would get up and hug each other and smile and swap places with members of the audience and the twanging and tabla beat would start slowly and segue off into another amazing jam session. I am positive it was a religious festival but I never did find out details about it. We just heard the noise from our hotel and wandered down and stayed for a day and a half. Amazing.
posted by peacay at 8:26 PM on August 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

I saw Anoushka and Ravi Shankar in concert last year. It was absofrigginly amazing.
posted by geekhorde at 8:42 PM on August 12, 2006

Great post.

For what it's worth, people constantly ask me what my online name means: digaman.

"Does it mean you dig men?"

Well, I do, but no.

"Does it mean you're a guy who digs a lot of different weird things with equal enthusiasm?"

Well, I do, but no.

It's a spoken-tabla thing, via Mickey Hart's Diga Rhythm Band. Amazing album, by the way.
posted by digaman at 10:06 AM on August 13, 2006

shoepal , Well, I'm gaga for the riq samples you offered. Never heard of that instrument and I'm getting peacay, Please you're pleased. You've created so many staggeringly wonderful posts. Great story, dying to hear more about your trip. Have you written about it elsewhere?

digaman, Nice to know more about you. :) Had to hear what you were talking about, there are samples of Diga on Amazon. Yummy complex, layered music, hot salsa and cool xylophone. No example of Micky Hart doing bols though, drat. You might also enjoy The Ray Spiegal Ensemble.
posted by nickyskye at 12:15 PM on August 13, 2006

oops, my last post wasn't cooked...I pressed "enter" to make a space and bam, there it is, sorry.

Will somebody please look at that silly Happy Tabla & Happy Singer Guy skit?

bugbread, That is such a fun story! Stolen music moments, like fruit pinched from a neighbor's tree, can taste extra sweet. The adventure of it adds additional excitement and memorable flavor. Once, walking home from work after a long day streetvending, I stopped by the back door of Roseland on West 53rd Street. It was Van Morrison, whose music I adore. Heard the whole concert there, sitting leaning against that door, the percussion reverberating throughout my body. Bliss.

Excellent to read the stories in this thread, find new pieces of music and links.

Alla Rakha did die in 2000. Wish there were sound samples of the "Einstein of rhythm" as Mickey Hart said about him. Amazing to see a vid on YouTube of Sheila Chandra singing a song of the Irish banshee. It works nicely, a fun culture combo, love that.

shoepal , Well, I'm gaga for the riq samples you offered. Superb. I mean I really love that music. Thanks. Never heard of that instrument and now I must get a Raquy and the Cavemen album. I'm so impressed you play the riq. Wow. So do you have samples in the MeFi music section? I'd really love to hear you play.

peacay, Pleased you're pleased. Trying to look up more spoken tabla bols for revonrut I came across this Sikh tabla guy on YouTube that must break some sort of sound barrier or something, so fast and yet each note discrete and crisp. Thought you might like it.
posted by nickyskye at 1:00 PM on August 13, 2006

nickyskye, here's another riq sample and a lesson.

And yes, the happy tabla video is bizarre to say the least.
posted by shoepal at 8:55 PM on August 13, 2006

I dunno who the tabla player was (since this was all unplanned, I had no info in advance, and since we snuck in, they didn't exactly hand us programs).
posted by Bugbread at 8:34 AM on August 14, 2006

Thanks again shoepal.
posted by nickyskye at 10:55 PM on August 15, 2006

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