Moving my blog over to

Dear friends,

With the recent update of my website, I now have the ability to integrate the blog directly into the website, so that is what I am doing; it just makes sense. I will no longer be posting updates here. Thank you to all of you for your interest in my musical adventures. Please click along to my website for the continuation of this blog in the future! If you would like to update your RSS subscription, this is the new RSS URL:

I hope to see you over at!


Thursday, 27 December 2007

Lahara alternatives

Hi everyone,

For the tabla players and kathak dancers out there, we all know how hard it is to find good lahara accompaniment outside of India. Many of us practice with Nagma machines, or computers playing back MIDI files that loop melodies for us to practice with. Ideally, we'd all have sarangi players for hire, but we don't. As an alternative to the above methods, I recently came across these links on's Indian music forums:

Sarangi lahara: (available for purchase at 5$ per lahara)
Harmonium lahara: (300 Rs per CD)

Both sites have free samples available for download.

And of course, there's always the free TaalPulse software -

Happy holidays!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Recent performances (November/December)

Hi everyone,

It seems like it has been a while since my last update. I've had a few concerts lately that I've neglected to post here, so here's a quick roundup (sorry, no photos!):

November 17 - ICM with Aditya Verma at the Freedom From Poverty Foundation Fundraiser
On November 17, I was fortunate to perform with the extremely talented sarod player, Aditya Verma, at the Freedom From Poverty Foundation's annual fundraiser. The Foundation is raising funds to start up a hospital in U.P. (India). The event was well attended, and the FFPF is surely a large step closer to reaching their goal.

December 1 - Galitcha at the Canadian Folk Music Awards
Galitcha performed at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau (just across the river from Ottawa). We had a great time performing, and it was great to see and hear some of the other musicians who were in attendance.

December 4 - McGill Tabla Ensemble
The advanced class of the McGill Tabla Ensemble performed a tabla soli in Teentaal, with harmonium accompaniment. The performance included a composed bhumika and uthan, a few moharas, followed by a kaida, a rela, and a few tukras. The audience response was great, and we're looking forward to our full-length concert in March.

Also, coming up tomorrow:
Friday, December 7 at 9:00pm (Free yoga class at 8pm)
A performance of Indian classical music by Surtaal (Nicholas Williams, bansuri and myself on tabla), followed by storytelling and poetry by Mathieu Lippé. We'll conclude the evening with some bhajans.

Studio Bliss
3841 Saint-Laurent
Montreal, Qc
Info / reservations: (514) 286-0007
Admission: 15$

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Galitcha in Tunisia and France

Hi everyone,

Ok, maybe this news is a bit old, but I thought I'd share anyways. At the end of September, I went on a short tour with the Indian folk group, Galitcha, which included shows in Tunis (Tunisia), as well as Valauris and Nice (France). It was a great experience, and it was great to tour around the Mediterranean.

The main concert of the tour was at the Festival de musique spirituelle de Tunis. We were really happy to be performing to a packed house, and we received a great reception there.

Galitcha in Milwaukee

Hi everyone,

I just returned from a great 3 days in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the Indian folk music group, Galitcha. I'd never been to Milwaukee before, and while I didn't get to see much of the city, I can definitely say that it is a very friendly place! We performed two shows at the Wisconsin Lutheran College; a morning show/workshop for schoolkids and their teachers and a regular evening concert.

It was a real pleasure to perform there; the hall at the college has great acoustics. Also, many thanks to the staff at the WLC for their warm welcome, and for being very well organised!

Surtaal in Lorraine

This past Sunday, I performed with the bansuri player, Nicholas Williams (as Surtaal) at the Centre culturel de Lorraine, just north of Montreal. It was a Sunday morning performance for a packed house. While we did perform amplified, the setting was quite intimate as we were very close to the audience. We performed raag Ahir Bhairav (imagine, a morning raag in the morning!) - Alap, Jor, Gat in Rupak, and Gat in Teentaal.

Our performance was followed by a wonderful dance recital by Odissi dancer, Sonia Lopez.

(Photos by David Lopez)

Saturday, 10 November 2007

McGill Tabla Ensemble - Nov. 15

Hi everyone,

For those of you who don't already know, I teach two tabla classes at McGill University. Each semester, the classes perform the repertoire that we've been working on. This coming week, the beginner group will have their first performance. They have only been playing tabla since the first week of September, but have accomplished a great deal in this short time.

We will perform a short tabla soli in Teentaal including mukra, mohara, kaidas, and tukras. The Tabla Ensemble will be accompanied by Andrew Maruzzella on sitar lahara.

Photo of McGill Tabla Ensemble (2006)

Thursday, November 15 at 8pm
McGill Tabla Ensemble and McGill Percussion Studio Concert
Tanna Schulich Hall, 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Qc
Free admission

Also on the program, the students of the McGill Percussion Studio will perform solo and chamber works for percussion.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Celestial Music of Pandit Lalmani Misra DVD

Hi everyone,

I recently came across a DVD of a live veena performance by Pt. Lalmani Misra, entitled Celestial Music of Pandit Lalmani Misra. He is one of the major artists to come out of Benares, and in addition to being a performer, he was equally important as a researcher, musicologist, educator, and composer. To my knowledge, there is only one CD of his that is widely available, making this DVD an incredible resource. The DVD has been independently produced by one of Panditji's disciples, Laxmi Tewari, and so has not received widespread advertising, and is not sold in online stores.

Veena recordings of this quality are extremely rare and so I highly reccomend this DVD. The icing on the cake is that the tabla accompanist is Pt. Chote Lal Mishra.

To order your copy, send 20$ US (cheque) to:
Laxmi G. Tewari
c/o Music Department, Sonoma State University
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928


All the proceeds from the sale of this DVD will go towards establishing a trust fund for a scholarship in the name of Pandit Lalmani Misra for music students at Sonoma State University.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Rahul Sharma and Zakir Hussain in Ottawa

Hi everyone,

A special concert of note. On Wednesday, November 14, 2007, Rahul Sharma (son of Pt. Shivkumar Sharma) will perform a santoor recital, accompanied by Ustad Zakir Hussain. A concert not to be missed!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 7:30pm
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Main Theatre,
100 rue Laurier, Gatineau
Tel: 819-776-7000

Too bad they won't be performing in Montreal!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Pt. Sharda Sahai videos

Hi everyone,

I thought I'd share these short video clips from Pt. Sharda Sahai's performance in Montreal from the Annual Summer Tabla Workshop of 2006. We're hoping to have him back this year or next - stay tuned!

Pt. Sharda Sahai, tabla
Bob Becker, harmonium
August 5, 2006.
Pollack Hall, Montreal, Qc

Ganesh Paran

Benarsi Theka


Surtaal, live at Zazen

Last night, I performed with the talented bansuri player, Nicholas Williams as Surtaal at the Spa ZaZen yoga centre in old Montreal. For us, this was a great occasion to perform North Indian classical music in a great acoustic setting with no amplification. A small, intimate concert - the way this music was meant to be performed!

The first piece was in Raag Yaman, with Nicholas performing alap, jor, and jhala before beginning a gat in rupak taal. This was then followed by a gat in teentaal.

During the intermission, guests were served chai and samosas.

In the second half, we performed Raag Multani in teentaal, followed by a light piece in dadra to end off the evening.

Many thanks to the folks at ZaZen for organising the concert and for their warm reception.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Free lahara software!

Hi everyone,

For those of you who don't have a Nagma machine, or similar, TaalPulse is a great (and free) tool for your Indian music practice. I just found out about this software yesterday, when the developer, Guillaume Pothier, visited one of my tabla classes at McGill.

The software has programmable volume, tempo, and pitch for tabla, lahara, and tanpura. A large number of laharas are included. I'm just hoping that Guillaume will change the sample sounds in the software, as the melodica sample is not great. Harmonium or sarangi would be much preferable. :)

Because the software is programmed in Squeek, it can run on almost any platform (PC, Mac, Linux, even Windows Mobile!). I'm still working out the bugs in getting it to run smoothly on my PDA, but it runs fine on my PC.

For more info, screenshots, and to download the software, see this link:




Hi everyone,

Welcome to my first post on my new blog. Aside from MySpace (, this is really my first blog as well. I thought that it would be nice to provide a news source for Indian classical / tabla-related activities in and around Montreal for those with similar interests, as well as the occasional posting about my various musical projects.

Please feel free to let me know of any related events in the area.