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, 22 January 2009

New Feature - Tabla Tracks

I have decided to start posting small blurbs about tabla-related albums that I am listening to, in an effort to promote this great music. I wouldn't necessarily call these CD reviews; I just want to share what I'm listening to! Tabla Tracks will be a regular feature of TablaMontreal. Look for new Tabla Tracks to appear on a regular basis. This first edition features two world-fusion albums.

The first CD is from Victoria-based guru-bhai, Niel Golden. Niel is a master tabla player, whose musical travels have literally taken him around the world. It's a Journey (released in 2008) is a fitting title for this album. The album is an eclectic world-fusion mix, combining influences from Indian, African, and Latin music with elements of blues and pop.

Tabla is heard in practically all of the tracks, but it doesn't always take centre stage; but don't fret, there are definitely some tabla solos in there! Niel's use of tabla is quite tasteful, and varies from tune to tune. Each track is in a completely different style, which shows both Niel's and the tabla's versatility in accompanying different types of music. For example: the tabla tarang-like use of tabla in Maliwood Drive, the Rolling Stone cover in Paint it Black, and the modulating tabla in Blu Z. Niel is a big fan of the Swiss instrument, the Hang, which is also featured in a few tunes. Of special note is a guest appearance by Harry Manx on Mohan veena.

Favourite tracks: Bergamot, Hari OM

The next CD, is a more recent acquisition - Tibet2Timbuk2's Music is Life (released in 2009). Tibet2Timbuk2 is a project of longtime Internet friend and Benares gharana brother, Shen Flindell, who is based in Australia. Shen is a very talented tabla player, and aside from some online clips, this is the first full-length album of his that I have had the pleasure of listening to. Tibet2Timbuk2 is a trio that combines the musics of India, Tibet, and Africa. The result is a feel-good mix of upbeat world music. Honestly, every folk festival in Canada should book this band!

What really strikes me in Shen's playing on this album is his feel/groove, and above all, his truly exceptional baya playing. His baya's pitch is nicely tuned to the tonic (which surprisingly, not every tabla player does), and aside from that, he plays moving bass-lines with great accuracy. Who needs a bass player? :) The instrumentation of the trio allows each instrument to speak, with no one stepping on each other's toes.  The singer's "super-vibrato" is certainly different! Of special note is guest artist Taro Terahara on bansuri.

Favourite tracks: Beautiful Girl/Bhumo Zhema, Ama

Music is Life can be ordered through EthnoSuperLounge. Proceeds from the sale of this album go to support Tibetan Children's Village in Dharamsala, India.

That's all for now. Please let me know what YOU think of these albums!

Monday, 12 January 2009

27th Annual Summer Tabla Workshop with Pandit Sharda Sahai

I'm very pleased to announce the 27th Annual Summer Tabla Workshop with Pandit Sharda Sahai, which is being hosted by my guru-bhai, Niel Golden, in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Of course, Pandit Sharda Sahai needs no introduction. As gharanadar, he is the living torchbearer of the Benares tabla tradition.

The workshop is a great opportunity to become fully immersed in the world of tabla. The workshop is taking place from August 17th through August 29, 2009. The daily group tabla classes and practice sessions are a great way to experience tabla-culture, and the workshop is appropriate for all levels; participants are divided into one of three classes, based on previous experience.

For more information, please visit

I hope to see some of you there!