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!


Tuesday, 8 April 2008

REFUGE dance project

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow night will be the premiere of Manijeh Ali's new dance choreography called Refuge:

"Refuge is a dance project dedicated to Sufism, a mystical tradition of Islam that is based on the belief that love is a projection of the essence of God in the universe. The practitioners of Sufism have coloured Persian literature with beautiful images of gardens, with passionate words for divine love, and with a beautifully defined profile of the beloved in a state of ecstasy. Through these dynamic images, Refuge celebrates the essence of Sufism using an elegant dance vocabulary derived from the precision of Bharata Natyam, the fluidity of Kathak, and the subtlety of Persian dance."

A production of Silken Dance, choreographed by Manijeh Ali, Refuge will be performed by Manijeh Ali, Marjolayne Auger, Elise Legrand, and Magdalena Nowecka at Art Neuf (3819 rue Calixa Lavallée, Montreal) on April 9, 10, 11, and 12, 2008 at 8:00 PM.

While I'm not personally performing in this production, I mention it because I have performed with Manijeh in the past, and that excerpts from my CD, Payton MacDonald: Works for Tabla will form part of the musical score. I look forward to seeing how the tabla concertos will be re-interpreted with dance!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Super Marimba performance with Payton MacDonald

Hi everyone,

I feel that I've been very lucky this spring - many great performances with great musicians. Another recent performance was this past Wednesday, April 2 with the American percussionist (also a tabla player), Payton MacDonald.

Tim Brady, from Bradyworks, invited us to perform a concert together as part of his series entitled VOYAGES: Montreal-New York. With Payton representing New York, and myself representing Montreal, the idea was to combine my tabla playing with Payton's tabla-inspired marimba playing.

Payton describes his Super Marimba like this: "Super Marimba is the nexus point of all of my artistic activities. Here I combine my study of tabla drumming, Western classical composition, and Jazz improvisation. All of my Super Marimba compositions are notated, but the pieces include improvisation. Sometimes the improvisation is free and spontaneous, but more often it is of a unique sort that I have developed over the past couple years, based on the kaida/palta theme and variation processes used in tabla drumming." He also uses loop and distortion pedals to record, loop, and modify the marimba sound in real-time.

The concert program was quite varied. We began with a tabla solo, accompanied by the marimba (perhaps an unusual take on a very traditional concept). Next was Hazel, Orange, for Super Marimba and tabla. Here, I was able to accompany Payton on tabla, while adding some extra colour on various percussion instruments. Next, Payton performed Vignette for solo Super Marimba, and I followed with Paul Frehner's composition for solo tabla, Ke-Te.

After the intermission, we performed Spider and Four Places of Prophecy in the Fire Ritual, for Super Marimba and tabla, followed by Bruno Paquet's Les arbres célestes, for tabla and pre-recorded tape. We concluded the concert with Payton's composition for marimba and tabla, Jugalbandi.

After 10 years of collaboration with Payton, it was really a pleasure to perform this concert with him. I look forward to the next time we are able to perform together!
This was also the first time I used my Sabian "sprimbal" in concert. It's the weird looking cymbal to my left. It basically sounds the way it looks. :) It was also a pleasure to perform at the Theatre La Chapelle. The acoustic was great, and the sound and lighting crew were extremely professional.

Performance with Catherine Potter for Insightful Events

Hi everyone,

Last weekend, on Friday March 28, I had the pleasure of performing with Canada's premiere bansuri player, Catherine Potter. A disciple of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, she has been performing Indian classical music for over 20 years.

Catherine performing alap

The event in question is called DOC~Illumination, which is a monthly series put on by Insightful Events to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Now organization. The event began with an Ayurveda workshop given by Nicole Thériault, followed by our performance, which was then followed by a film about Ayurveda.

Unfortunately, we only had a short time to perform, but it was a lot of fun. After a short alap (Raag Jog), we followed with a gat in Jhaptaal. We then did another piece in Teentaal, though now I forget which raag (sorry!).

Many thanks to Risa for her warm welcome and Kai for his help with the sound.

Next month's event will include a santoor performance and Bharat Natyam dance.