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 November 2011

Announcing the Cycles CD Launch Event - November 14!

Dear friends, 

After 10 years of collaborating with Canadian composers, and one year of preparations and recording, Cycles is finally ready for release! The release event will be on Monday, November 14, and you are all invited! Below is a copy of the press release from the label, ombu productions.

ombú productions, inc., is thrilled to announce the release of Cycles, Shawn Mativetsky’s latest CD of new music for tabla. Over the past decade, Shawn Mativetsky – percussionist, composer and educator – has been working to combine his dual backgrounds in both Western and Indian classical music by commissioning new music for the tabla. The resulting works draw their inspiration from Western and Indian music in varying degrees, and reflect the personalities and approaches of the individual composers. Cycles features new works for tabla from Canadian composers Paul Frehner, Jim Hiscott, Christien Ledroit, Nicole Lizée, and Bruno Paquet and features guest performances by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, directed by Brian Current, as well as Marie-Hélène Breault on flute, Catherine Meunier on vibraphone, and Xenia Pestova on harmonium.

Credit: Scott Webster / Windsor Star
Disciple of Pandit Sharda Sahai of the Benares gharana of tabla, Shawn Mativetsky is highly sought after as a versatile tabla artist. As an ensemble musician, Shawn Mativetsky performs regularly with violinist Parmela Attariwala's cross-cultural Attar Project, Indian-fusion ensemble Ragleela, and the Indian-folk group Galitcha. Shawn has performed numerous solo recitals, spanning Canada, the United States, England, and India. He has been featured in series such as the Windsor Canadian Music Festival, New Music in New Spaces, Groundswell, Festival Montréal Baroque, Jusqu’aux Oreilles, Evolutions, Voyages: Montréal-New York, Festival International du Domaine Forget, New Works Calgary, Music Toronto, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. As a practitioner of Indian classical music, Shawn regularly gives solo tabla performances, as well as accompanying kathak dance, voice, bansuri, sarod, santoor, and sitar artists. Cycles is Shawn’s second solo disc; his first, Payton MacDonald: Works for Tabla, was released in 2007.

CD launch, Monday, November 14, 2011, at Mysore Indian Cuisine, 4216 St-Laurent Blvd., from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Shawn Mativetsky will be performing works from Cycles, after which he will be available to meet the public and members of the press, and to sign CDs.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cycles - CD release coming soon!

Cycles is the culmination of over ten years of collaborating with Canadian composers, creating a new repertoire for tabla that combines elements of Indian classical and Western classical music. The resulting works draw their inspiration from Western and Indian music in varying degrees, and reflect the personalities and approaches of the individual composers. Cycles features new works for tabla from Canadian composers Paul Frehner, Jim Hiscott, Christien Ledroit, Nicole Lizée, and Bruno Paquet and features guest performances by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, directed by Brian Current, as well as Marie-Hélène Breault on flute, Catherine Meunier on vibraphone, and Xenia Pestova on harmonium. The CD is being released on the ombu productions label, and will be available on October 14.

The pieces on the CD are:
Elementalities, for flute, vibraphone, and tabla, by Christien Ledroit
Metal Jacket, for tabla and harmonium, by Nicole Lizée
Les arbres célestes, for tabla and pre-recorded tape, by Bruno Paquet
Shadow Play, for flute and tabla, by Jim Hiscott
Ke-Te, for solo tabla, by Paul Frehner
Trade Winds, concerto for tabla with string orchestra, by Christien Ledroit

Producing this CD has been quite a journey for me. It represents ten years of new music for tabla, and the CD project itself took over one year to complete. The chamber music pieces were recorded in September and October 2010, and the tabla concerto with the WSO was recorded in February 2011 by the CBC.

Performing Christien Ledroit's Trade Winds, concerto for tabla, with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra
Photo credit: Scott Webster, Windsor Star
Many thanks to all who collaborated with me on this special project! I will post links to purchase the CD once it becomes available.

Open House at the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal's New Maison Symphonique

This past September 8, I had the pleasure of performing with Erreur de Type 27 for the opening of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal's new symphony hall, named the Maison Symphonique de Montréal. The new hall, at Place des Arts, is a major new concert hall for Montreal. The OSM invited groups from across Quebec to come and perform for their open house event. The trio was made up of Marie-Hélène Breault on flute, Catherine Meunier on marimba and vibraphone, and myself on tabla. (Marie-Hélène and Catherine also played on my upcoming CD, Cycles!) We presented excerpts from our upcoming Musica Masala show on October 14.

Erreur de Type 27 performing at the Maison Symphonique open house

The open house ended up being a huge success - there were literally thousands of people who lined up to see the new hall. You can see some of the loooong lineups in the OSM's Facebook photos. Over the course of the day, we performed four times; three times in the main foyer, and once in the new hall. The new hall looks great. I can't really comment on the sound, as I wasn't in the audience, but we received very good feedback after our performance. We performed Christien Ledroit's Elementalities, for flute, vibraphone, and tabla; Jim Hiscott's Shadow Play for flute and tabla; and Payton MacDonald's Farmaishi in a special arrangement for flute, marimba, and tabla.

A fun fact: I used Maestro Kent Nagano's podium for my riser. It's made of very heavy hardwood (oak?) and weighs about 200 pounds! Unfortunately, no riser was available in the foyer...

Performing in the foyer.

Thanks to composer Christien Ledroit for the photos!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Santoor and tabla recital at McGill University

This past September 30, I accompanied santoor player Jonathan Voyer for a recital at Tanna Schulich Hall at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal. The concert was part of the Journées de la culture (Culture days) and also was in celebration of UNESCO International Music Day, which was interestingly started by the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin (himself a great lover of Indian classical music, and longtime collaborator of Pandit Ravi Shankar).

Jonathan chose to play Raag Charukeshi, which is one of my favourites on santoor (recommended listening: Pandit Shivkumar Sharma's recording of Charukeshi, with Pt. Kishan Maharaj, on the album Sympatico). The raag just seems to work so well on santoor, and creates a very special mood. Jonathan played an alap, followed by a gat in vilambit jhaptaal, madhya teentaal, and then drut teentaal.

We really had a great performance. A great hall, great audience, and great mood. This was one of those performances that just felt right. The hall was almost completely full to capacity and the audience was very enthusiastic. We even got some audible appreciation at times during the drut, which is very rare here in Montreal.

Our CD, Shanta, can be purchased from us directly, or online via iTunes and CDBaby.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

2nd Global Conference on World Religions

This past September 7, Jonathan Voyer and I had the honour to perform for the Second Global Conference on World Religions, held at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal. The list of guest speakers was quite impressive. The keynote speaker was his Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and he was joined by world-famous author Deepak Chopra, Professors Tariq RamadanRobert ThurmanSteven T. Katz and Gregory Baum.

Unfortunately, we didn't meet any of these distinguished people, but we were very happy to share our music with the very receptive attendees!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Summer Festivals with Ragleela

This past August 10, I performed with Ragleela at the Festival des Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke. I had played this festival a few years earlier with Galitcha, and so was really looking forward to being back. This was our first performance trying out a new instrument with the group -cello. Cellist Philippe Mius d'Entremont joined the usual group of Uwe Neumann on sitar, Jean-Marc Hébert on guitar, Eric Breton on percussion, and myself on tabla.

Soundchecking with Ragleela at the Festival des Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke
In concert at the Festival des Traditions du Monde Sherbrooke

Here comes the rain!

But, after we played our first tune, BOOM, the rain came down HARD. We quickly packed up our instruments, but were told to stay on standby in case the weather cleared up. 20 minutes later, it did, and so we were able to resume our set for another 30 minutes or so. Then right after finishing, again, the rain came pouring down and this time there was no end in sight. We scrambled to pack our instruments and put them away in the car. We were all completely soaked, but luckily no instruments were damaged.

On August 13, we headed out to the Festival Interculturel de Rawdon. Unlike the weather in Sherbrooke earlier that week, the weather was really amazing. Nothing but sun and blue skies. The festival is set at the municipal beach, right next to a peaceful lake.

Uwe playing his sansa.

After the concert, we took a few group photos in the Rawdon countryside. Here are a couple of my favourites:


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

First Annual Summer Tabla Workshop in Montreal

Some of you may remember that I hosted Gurujee, Pandit Sharda Sahai for tabla workshops in Montreal back in 2006 and 2008. Unfortunately, he isn't travelling as often as he used to, and so has stopped coming to North America for his annual workshops. This year, I decided to continue the tradition in my own small way, and organised a one-week tabla workshop at McGill University during the first week of July. Students were divided into two groups - beginner and intermediate. Each class met four times, in addition to daily group practice sessions, and two video-viewing sessions where we watched performances of instrumental music, tabla solos, and kathak dance.

We ended the workshop with a Guru Puja. Here are a few photos:

Thanks to all the students for their enthusiastic participation! Keep practicing! :)

I'm currently in the planning stages for next year's summer workshop in Montreal. Also, stay tuned for information about Gurujee's tabla workshop in London in summer 2012! It will be really special. As soon as I have any details, I will post them here.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

In concert with Steve Gorn

This past July 27, I had the great pleasure of accompanying bansuri master Steve Gorn at the Espace Cercle-Carré in Old Montreal. He came up from his home in the US to spend some time with his student Alexandre Lavoie and to do some Montreal sightseeing, and so we thought it would be great to organize a small concert for him while he was here.
The Espace Cercle-Carré is a new performance space in an artists' co-op. The space is quite reverberant, and a very beautiful acoustic for Indian classical music. We performed without any amplification, in a house-concert style setup. We all really enjoyed the vibe, and hopefully I will be able to organize other Indian music concerts there in the future.

Some concert attendees posted other photos of the performance here and here.

It was a real pleasure to have Steve perform in Montreal. Hopefully he will be back again sometime soon!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Playing for Royalty and Canada Day in Ottawa

This past June 30, I was very fortunate to have been invited to perform for the Celebration of Youth Reception at Rideau Hall, as part of Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Canada. The reception at Rideau Hall (the residence of the Governor General) was by invitation only, and security was very tight. In attendance were the Prince and Princess, the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and 120 youth being honoured for their work.

The Prince and Princess meeting the chefs that prepared the meal, followed by the PM.

Singer Kuljit Sodhi, of the group Galitcha, and I joined French-Canadian band La Ligue du Bonheur, for an Indo-Québecois musical masala. The original plan was to perform outdoors, but the rain forced the reception indoors. Unfortunately, I haven't yet been able to obtain any photos of our performance. Above is a photo that I took with my Blackberry while we were taking a break between sets.

Some photos of Kuljit and myself hanging out at Rideau Hall, while the reception was being set up indoors.

Next, on Canada Day (July 1), Kuljit and I were joined by Jean-Marc, the accordionist from La Ligue du Bonheur for some Indian folk music. Accordion instead of harmonium, why not? :) We performed twice at Major Hill Park in Ottawa, right next to the Parliament buildings. I also did a short collaborative piece with Odissi dancer Sonia St-Michel. I accompanied her on tabla and recited bols.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

In the studio with Elephant Stone!

This past July, I had the pleasure of going into the studio to recording again for the "Hindi-Rock" band, Elephant Stone. I played tabla on one of the band's latest singles, The Sea of Your Mind. As always, it's great fun to collaborate with bandleader Rishi Dhir, and Breakglass Studios mastermind Jace Lasek. Just like Elephant Stone's last EP, the entire recording was done through the Neve console, direct to reel-to-reel tape. No digital equipment or computer was involved; pure analog recording!

Currently, the first single, Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin, is available for free download from I assume that The Sea of Your Mind will be released shortly, stay tuned!

Jace pondering the optimum mic placement, while Rishi documents the studio session for posterity. :)

Choirs taking a trip around the world through music!

Yes, I am very behind in keeping up with my blog posts! This concert dates back to January 29, when I was guest percussionist with the Yellow Door Choir, directed by Eleanor Stubley. The concert, titled World Rhythms, featured music from India, Japan, Africa, Ireland, Canada, and the Middle-East. They set up a video camera, focused on my hands, and projected the video onto the big screen to the right of the stage. Never have I been made so aware of my every move, lol! Aside from tabla, I also played a couple of pieces on darbouka and pandeiro. The highlight was a choir arrangement of Jai Ho from the popular Bollywood film, Slumdog Millionaire. Fun!

Jumping forward six months, to June 4, for the Harmonia Westmount Women's Choir's concert We are the World, directed by Fredericka Petit-Homme. Another varied program of music from around the world, including India, Africa, Israel, Japan, Canada, and Ireland. It was also great fun and a real pleasure to be directed by one of my former students at McGill, Elizabeth Lanzer.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Kirtan with Hélène and Lea

In the past few months, I have had a great time accompanying kirtan sessions in the Montreal area. Last year, I played on Lea Longo's latest CD, Peace Chants, and just a few months ago, I recorded with Hélène Dalair for her CD, Mantra.

On May 13, Hélène invited me to perform for her CD launch at YogaMonde, a very well established (and beautiful) yoga studio in Sainte-Catherine, Québec. The place was jam packed, and there was a great vibe. YogaMonde seems to have a long tradition of kirtan, and so the participants were really into it. A really fun evening!

Then, on May 27, I accompanied Lea Longo for her kirtan at Vox Populi in Montreal. Again, a great turnout. It seems that Montreal has a small but very devoted kirtan scene! One thing about Lea's kirtans, is that once she starts, she connects all the matras together to form one long performance, spanning one-and-a-half to two hours. It's a great test of my endurance, and a lot of fun. :)

Thank you to Caroline Tabah for the photos!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Spring kathak dance performances

It has been a great spring season, filled with numerous kathak dance performances. The more I work with dance, the more I love it.

On February 17, kathak dancer Sudeshna Maulik and I presented a lecture-performance at the Moving Dialogues conference, hosted by Concordia University in Montreal. The title of our presentation was Talking Hands, Talking Feet - The Unified Interpretation of Bol in the North Indian Tabla and Kathak Dance Traditions. Our presentation was very well received! I think that we were one of the only presenters at the conference representing a non-Western music and dance tradition. In observing others' presentations, it was interesting to note how dance and music are often considered as two completely separate entities in the Western setting, in contrast to Indian music and dance which are entirely inseparable!

On April 2, sarodiya Raja Bhattacharya and I accompanied Sudeshna at the Maison de la culture Parc-Extension in Montreal. We performed a short instrumental piece to open, followed by a full kathak performance in Teentaal. The audience was very responsive, and the performance was followed by a Q&A session.

In Canada, the month of May is Asian Heritage Month. This year, Sudeshna and I were fortunate to have been invited to perform as part of the festivities organised by the Festival Accès Asie. The first performance was on May 7, as part of a demonstration of Indian cuisine and culture at the Buffet Maharaja.

Next up on May 14, I accompanied Sudeshna's talented young student Rijha Bhattacharjee in her debut solo performance. In addition to performing for a live audience at Ex-Centris in Montreal, this performance was part of a nationwide broadcast and was simultaneously shown to live audiences in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. We also responded to comments and questions from audience members in the four cities.

The event was made up of performances from music and dance artists from all four cities, representing a wide variety of Asian cultures, in addition to lectures and discourses. It was quite an eye-opening experience, and a great way to showcase Asian talent from across the country. Congratulations to Rijha on a very successful debut performance and to the Accès Asie team for their excellent organisational skills!

Thanks to Caroline Tabah for the April 2 and May 14 photos.