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, 10 March 2010

Kathak in Marlboro, Vermont

From March 5 through 7, I was in residence at Marlboro College (Marlboro, Vermont), along with cellist Jake Charkey and kathak dancer Sudeshna Maulik. We were invited to teach and perform for the faculties of music and dance by Prof. Stan Charkey.

On March 5, Jake and I gave an Indian music workshop for Prof. Charkey's world music class. The class had previously learned a bit about Carnatic music, so we started by talking about some of the similarities and differences between Carnatic (South Indian) and Hindustani (North Indian) classical music. We then got into a discussion of the tabla and taal, and the cello and raag. Jake demonstrated a few different ragas, and I had the class clapping teentaal and rupaktaal. I performed a short solo in rupak, and demonstrated a few tihais.

Later that day, Jake and I accompanied Sudeshna for her dance workshop. There was quite a large turnout, mostly made up of ballet and contemporary dancers. Sudeshna pushed the students hard and they learned quite a lot in the 90 minutes we had together!

On March 6, Jake and I gave some private lessons to interested students. One of the students had previously been to Benares and studied tabla for a few weeks there.

On March 7, we performed in concert for a very enthusiastic audience. First, Jake performed cello solo, opening with a piece in Raag Durga. Alap and gat in jhaptaal (10 beats). I then performed tabla solo in teentaal, vilambit and madhya. After a short pause, we continued with the kathak dance segment, accompanying Sudeshna through vilambit, madhya, and drut teentaal. As always, Sudeshna danced with great energy, precision, and flair and the audience responded with much applause throughout the performance.

Many thanks to the Charkey family for hosting us during our residency. We stayed at their place in Brattleboro. Brattleboro is a friendly, picturesque town, with a large artist community. I hope to return again in the near future!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Attar Project CD Launch

The last week of February was a busy time for me. 4 concerts and 2 workshops in four days! These activities were centered around the launch of the Attar Project's third CD, The Road Ahead.

The Attar Project is the project of violinist Parmela Attariwala. "Initially conceived as a vehicle to integrate the eclectic strands of Attariwala’s own musical background, the Attar Project engages artists across musical genres and artistic practices in virtuosic collaborations that maintain the essence of each while challenging the boundaries between them. Neither a fixed ensemble nor an “ad hoc” one, the Attar Project has unfolded as a series of dedicated partnerships, resulting in a body of work that, while beyond common definition, unfailingly awakens the eye and ear." This album features new music for violin and tabla by Canadian composers.

the Attar Project - The Road Ahead
Parmela Attariwala, violin and viola
Shawn Mativetsky, tabla and percussion
Oracle, by Paul Frehner
Sudoku, by Andrew Staniland
The Road Ahead... is Longer than the Trail Left Behind, by Nicole Rampersaud
The Melody of Rhythm, by Meiro Stamm
Never the Twain Shall Meet, by Christien Ledroit

The first of the CD launch activities took place at the Musideum in Toronto on February 24. This is a music / instrument store with an eclectic collection of instruments on display and for sale. A really fascinating place! They had a wide array of percussion, string instruments, winds, and electronic instruments from around the world. They even had an old glass harmonica on display. We performed a few selections from the new CD to a small, but appreciative audience.

Performing at the Musideum, Toronto.

Chatting with composer Meiro Stamm.

The Attar Project at the Musideum.

The next day, February 25, Parmela and I were on a train to London (Ontario) to give workshops at the University of Western Ontario. I gave a tabla workshop for the percussion students, and another for the composition students, while Parmela gave a workshop on improvisation. The next day, we performed for the UWO noon-hour concert series. Many thanks to composer Paul Frehner for inviting us. It was a great couple of days. I only wish that I had more time to stay and see more of "the other" London.

A couple of hours later, we were back on a train for another performance that same evening at Toronto's C'est What. C'est What is not our usual type of venue - it's a microbrewery pub. But, they have a music series and are trying to branch out into other, more adventurous styles of music. It was fun to be able to watch the Olympic women's gold medal curling match (though Canada lost, and got silver) just before the performance.

Performing at C'est What, Toronto.

The last of the Toronto CD launch concerts was at the Tranzac. I hadn't heard of this place before, but it seems to be a big part of the local music scene. They have a few rooms, booked all day long, with musical performances representing practically every genre imaginable. We played in a smaller room, up close and personal with the audience. We got a really enthusiastic response! Maybe it was the Tranzac vibe, or the fact that the Tranzac audiences are very open in their musical tastes.

Performing at the Tranzac, Toronto.

In all of the performances, we played selections from the new CD, plus Robert Rosen's now classic LA, and a tabla solo in rupak taal (7 beats). I have typically chosen to perform tabla solo in teentaal (16 beats), but I decided that it was time for a change! I'm really liking the feel of rupak for solos, and will surely continue to explore this further.

All in all, a great week, and a great way to launch the new CD! The CD should soon be available on CDBaby, iTunes, etc. It's also available directly from Parmela or myself, and independent music stores in Toronto.