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Caroline and I needed to go to this concert but we were suffering from colds of varying degree and very fortunately for us, our friends Suresh and Hansa came to our rescue, for they came along with us, with Suresh driving us all from Oxford.

 

This was an event not to be missed at any cost. Sanju Sahai thought the same and despite feeling not very well at all, he gave a wonderful performance, as did the other performers and particularly Mick Taylor. 

Mick Taylor made some introductory announcements in Facebook:-

 

Here's one on 11 December 2017:

"The last time I performed with Sanju Sahai was in 2008 at the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. London. The first time we shared the stage was 1991 - 26 years ago!!! Looking forward to performing at The Music Room this coming Saturday."

 

Here's an earlier one on 20 November 2017:

"Looking forward once again to performing at The Music Room on Saturday 16 December. It will be a very full evening of music and rhythm with Saphwat Simab opening with a short rubab recital and Sanju Sahai presenting a tabla solo. I'm particularly pleased to have as my guest Sanjukta Mitra giving a vocal performance accompanied by Gurdain Singh Rayatt on tabla and Viswa Prakash on harmonium. Sanjukta is representative of the Vishnupur Gharana which she has studied with under her guru Pandit Santanu Bandyopadhyay.

 

As this might well be my last public performance, I really hope to see as many music lovers and friends attending at this great venue. Please share this notice and encourage advance booking. Thank you."

 At a Concert in The Music Room

on 16 December

 At One World Festival on 18 and 19 November 

One World Festival (Alive in the Museum)

by

Caroline Tapp

 

Oxford Tabla dropped in at this event to see what was going on. Spread over Saturday and Sunday of 18th and 19th November, it was in part triggered by the wonderful exhibition “Imagining the Divine”, which features Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and how these five great faiths interacted with each other globally and across the centuries and partly by the Diwali  celebrations for the festival of light, "exploring how light, music, dance and food connects communities and faiths"

and on Saturday there was  a tour of the special exhibition "Imagining the Divine, Art and the Rise of World Religions".

A flexible programme was spread across the galleries, including art by Anne-Marie Cadman, with the main events in The Atrium itself, which offered a full programme, where on the Saturday the “Oxford Hindu Temple and Community Centre Project (OHTCCP)” held sway with firstly a Pooja to Lakshmi, bhajans sung by various people at different times (some with tabla accompaniment), speeches, invocation dances to Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna, and Indian Classical Dance, using well-known local musicians and dancers including Chris Hills, Sneha Anand, Athiswari Vadivale, and Aarti and Priya Jagannath. The OHTCCP stayed until the end of the day on Saturday, introducing Chandra Vadivale, who spoke on Imaging the Divine in relation to Imagining the Divine and also introducing Shaunaka Rishi Das, who covered ‘What Has Hinduism Given The World?” and included mention of Greek philosophy, saying it was more well-known than Indian philosophy but that it was Indian philosophy that had spread to the east, to China and Japan, and the subject of Zero, amongst other things in some depth and Mahatma Ghandi, and invited people to look at the online courses given by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies currently enjoyed throughout the world.

 

It would have been a hard task for anyone to leave one thing to see another activity going on at the same time – Rangoli patterns were going on by Kashmira Patel and there was an all-day, 2 day drop-in event by the Oxford Civic Society, on how to make Oxford a better city in which to live, work, study and play. There was Buddhist yoga, a Thai Buddhist Mahajanaka Presentation, Adhan Call to Prayer, Mindfulness Meditation, Asr Muslim Prayer, and Performances by Sikh Shabad – these were happening during the day and not least an Activity Trail: “Objects of the Pooja” hosted by the OHTCCP. This was all absolutely fascinating but of course Oxford tabla concentrated on the music but please see programme below for a comprehensive list of all activities on both days.

 

On the Sunday there was another full programme in the Atrium. Instead of the Dhol drumming as featured in the programme there was a performance of Persian/(fusion?) music by an Oxford band called Delnavaz. They are a female and male duo of instrumental, vocal and Indian tabla – I think they performed Persian love songs. She has a wonderful singing voice and plays a stringed instrument that resembles a form of lute. This music was to a large extent in competition with a performance of Pothwari Folk Music, and Sufi poetry, presented by Oxford Council of Faiths in the Islamic Art 31 section of the museum. The three musicians performing Pothwari were from the midlands and included a singer, who accompanied himself with a sitar, unusually held upright, a harmonium player and a ghatam player, who wore a bell strap (“ghungrus”) like the dancer’s … on his right wrist. They made powerful music, and on my hovering between this gallery, Islamic Art 31, and the Atrium below, the mix of sounds from Delnavaz and the Pothwari Folk Musicians was stunning. However, I think that the musicians in Islamic Art 31 might have been distracted by the sounds of Delnavaz and vice versa but I believe that the two groups eventually learned to tolerate each other. In any case both sets of musicians were interesting and had to share their audience.

 

Oxford Tabla saw Chinta Kallie from the Hindu Community, who had been hosting all Saturday’s events in the Atrium, coming down the steps into the Atrium on Sunday, and had not been aware that she had just been one of the speakers in the Panel Discussion in the Lecture Theatre giving a presentation on the Hindu aspects of her life, entitled “Living Faith” along with other presentations by people from other religions, which was part of an interfaith panel which had been going on between 12 and 1.

 

In the Atrium there followed some Chinese music and dancing with vividly dressed performers in silks, which we saw in part just before we left the museum for the day. Other interesting performances we missed were by the Oxford Jewish Community choir, Oxford’s Afropean choral group and the Tariqa Burhaniyya Hadra – a Sufi Tariqa from Sudan.

 

What a wonderful couple of days and I must still mention the tour “Jewish Treasures of the Ashmolean”, the Arabic Calligraphy Workshop, the storytelling “Woven Threads and Torn Fabric” (a Muslim/Jewish version of the Joseph story) and the Geometric Greeting Card workshop. Alas there were other activities on the Sunday which I think I have not listed but they will be in the full programme below and I just wish we could have seen more but…

Photo credits: NK and CT

Garba dancers 

Photo credit: NK

On 3 November we were 'In The Moment' with David Trasoff (sarod) and Prabhu Edouard (tabla).  

This was a delightful concert of musical artistry, spontaneity, melody and rhythm, and there were solos by both performers (with Prabhu keeping his short and fast).

The programme was:

 

Raag Hem Bihag

Raag Pilu

Bhati Ali (a Bengali folk song)

 

Before the folk song the audience were invited to ask questions of the performers, so there were some questions. A lady asked how much of the raga is improvised (and how much is composed)? David Trasoff answered that the Raga is a whole entity in itself, comprising of melody, mood, colour, rhythm and so on, which is a particular idea. He added that you can see it like

a hologram - every bit or place you look at is an image of the whole thing. The lady questioner responded by saying that she was beginning to get it. Prabhu Edouard added that the piece of melody which is repeated while he is playing tabla solo is what is composed.

We enjoyed being in the Brunei Gallery of SOAS for this concert. It's a venue we like. 

 

Hem Bihag

Arohana: 'Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa'

Avarohana: 'Sa Ni Dha Ma Pa Ma Ga Ma Re Sa'

 

In Bihag, for comparison:-

Arohana is 'Pa Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa'

Avarohana is 'Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Ma Ga Re Sa'

 

Pilu

Arohana: 'Pa Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa'

Avarohana: 'Dha Pa Ma Ga Ma Pa Ga (komal Ga) Re Sa Ni Sa'  

 At a Sarod & Tabla Concert on 3 November
 Independence Day Concert in Oxford on 29 October

The Oxford Indian Performing Arts Centre and the Oxford India Society celebrated the 70th year of India's independence with a live Hindustani music concert by Kirpal Panesar (esraj), Pulkit Sharma (tabla) and Prabhat Rao (vocals) at St. Anthony's College, Oxford on 29 October.

Unfortunately three video snatches of this concert have become unavailable but a flavour of the actual concert can be gained from the trailer below:-

We were guests of Shawn Mativetsky at his summer workshop in Montreal between 26 June to 2 July. It was great to be back again. 

Photo credits: NK

 At Shawn Mativetsky's Summer Workshop

in Montreal

Seen from on-high, here is one of the lions guarding the Schulich School of Music of McGill

 At MIM in Phoenix on 15 May 

On 15 May we took a day trip to the MIM and had a fascinating time exploring the following sections of this wonderful  museum:

South Asia

East Asia

Central Asia

South East Asia

 MIM hosts 6,600 exhibits from across the world - we must visit again to see the rest of the world!

Please scroll down to see photographs we took on our visit to this wonderful museum. They are grouped as

Bangladesh

Nepal

India

Devotional

Pakistan

Afghanistan

 Photo credits: NK and CT

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Goodbye MIM and thank you for a trippy feast of musical instruments. We look forward to our return.

On 7 May we saw and enjoyed Fanna-Fi-Allah in the venue of the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building of St Hilda's College.

 

What was of special interest to Oxford Tabla about Fanna-Fi-Allah was the female tabla player, Aminah Chisti. A student of Ustad Dildar Hussain, she is, we believe, the first female tabla player to be playing in the sacred tradition of Qawwali. She is also Western but by no means is she the first Western female tabla player, as some might believe.

 

Fanna-Fi-Allah presented their music energetically, contentedly and with much finesse and panache.

Photo credits: NK

 At a Concert of Sufi Qawwali Music on 7 May 
 Oxford Tabla played at the OIWF Dinner on 13 March

Credit for this photo: SP

I played a short tabla solo with a vocal lehra by Neil. It was my presentation of a gat.

Credit for the three photos below: NK 

Aarti Jagannath of

Kala Arpan 

Athiswari Vadivale 

Asnah Belly Dancers

At Shawn Mativetsky's solo tabla concert on 3 March 

Photo credit: NK

We had a greatly enjoyable listening time at Shawn Mativetsky's 'Rivers' album launch on 3 March, in the London Nehru Centre. This was a solo tabla recital, comprising a rhythmic journey to Varanasi, with accompaniment by Ustad Surjeet Singh on sarangi. 

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