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!


Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Symphonie du Sud-Ouest

From February to mid-April, I was involved in a very interesting project, the Symphonie du Sud-Ouest. This series of workshops on musical creativity and improvisation was initiated by guitarist/composer, Tim Brady. The project involved 20 musicians from the community at large; more specifically, those living in the south-west borough of the city of Montreal. Tim Brady, saxophonist Jean-Marc Bouchard (from the Quasar saxophone quartet), and myself met with the group every Wednesday night over the course of two months.

The participants were of mixed age and background, ranging from 16 years old to 70 years old, and with varying amounts of musical experience. Instrumentation included voice, piano, guitar, bass, electronic drumset, recorder, clarinet, and saxophone. My setup included tabla (of course!), darbouka, a couple of cymbals, and a milltone drum.

Each week, we would begin with a short presentation on a musical style or compositional technique. Topics included melody, harmony, orchestration, register/dynamics/density, improvisation, composition, theme-and-variation, Indian music (of course!), etc. Then, we would break off into our three groups, led by Tim (guitar and voice), Jean-Marc (winds), and myself (percussion). My group, though loosely labelled the percussion group, actually included African percussion, electronic drumset, slam poetry / vocal sound effects, piano, and my setup that I mentioned earlier.

Over the course of seven workshops, we worked on creating our symphony for a performance at the Maison de la culture Marie Ugay on April 15. The final structure was:
I - Group improvisation, directed by Tim
II - Guitar / voice group soli
III - Wind group soli
IV - Percussion group soli
V - Group "comprovisation", composed/directed by Tim

It was fun to see everyone push their musical boundaries far past their pre-conceived notions of music and music-making. The concert was well attended, and enthusiastically received. We are currently planning a second edition of the workshop, which should begin sometime in mid-June! If you are a resident of the Sud-Ouest borough of Montreal and would like to participate in the second edition of the Symphone du Sud-Ouest, please contact the Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Upcoming performances

I thought I should mention some upcoming performances of my own, and others in the area. 

On May 2, Crudessence, Montreal's top "living food" restaurant is putting on a party called Bollywood Express. There will be a bollywood dance demonstration, and a DJ who will play all your favourite Bollywood tracks, so you can dance the night away. But before everyone gets down, Jake Charkey and I will open the evening with some North Indian classical music for tabla and cello. Yes, cello! How to explain it? It's just like Indian violin, but lower! :)

May 2, 2009 at 8:00pm
Espace Reunion, 6600 rue Hutchison
Montreal, Qc
Tickets cost 15$ in advance, 20$ at the door.

If you are in the Ottawa area, the Ragamala Association of Ottawa-Carleton is presenting a concert with sitarist Ustad Shahid Parvez, accompanied by Subhajyoti Guha on tabla. May 2 at 7:30pm. Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. Tickets are 20$ to 100$.

Later in the month of May, the Kabir Cultural Centre is presenting a semi-classical vocal concert with Shafkat Ali Khan, from Pakistan. He will be accompanied by Pandit Ramesh Mishra on sarangi. The concert is on May 16 at 7:30pm. DB Clarke Theatre, 1455 de Maisonneuve West, Montreal, Qc. Tickets are 15$-50$. Unfortunately, I will be missing this performance, as I will be in London, UK at the time, but I will fortunately be seeing Ramesh-ji in performance with Shri Sanju Sahai on May 9 at the South Bank Centre! Ramesh-ji is an incredible sarangi player, and I would highly reccomend attending whichever performance you are able to! :)

Mark June 12 and 13 in your calendars for Sudeshna Maulik's Crossroads project, which will take place at the Salle Gesu in Montreal. This will be a full performance of kathak and odissi dance, with Jake Charkey on cello and myself on tabla.

Monday, 20 April 2009

New releases

A couple of recordings that I worked on last fall have just recently been released. These aren't groups that I regularly perform with, but they were looking for some Indian flavour for specific tracks on their albums.

The first recording is with La Nef, a group whose music is extremely varied and defies categorization. Generally speaking, they perform both early music and world music. This recording, as the title suggests, is of music inspired by desert cultures. I perform santoor (yes!) on the second track, Rub al Khali. The other performers on the track are the very talented Pierre Hamon on bansuri, Carlo Rizzo and Patrick Graham on frame drums, and Andrew Wells-Oberegger on oud. Pierre and Carlo had flown in from France for this occasion. The rest of the CD is extremely varied, with voice, various flutes, numerous frame drums and percussion instruments, oud, saz, guembri, and jaw harp.

The other recording that has recently been released is francophone pop artist Yann Perreau's Un serpent sous les fleurs. Having recently returned from India, Yann wanted some tabla on his new record. I perform on the track, Le marcheur rapide.

Future releases in 2009 include a couple of guest tracks on Marie Saintonge's upcoming funky-electronic-world CD (previews can be heard on MySpace), a compilation with slam-poet-singer Mathieu Lippé and the soundtrack for a National Film Board of Canada short film.

That's all for now! More tabla-news coming soon.