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!


Friday, 7 January 2011

Catherine Potter - A Canadian Pioneer of Indian Classical Music

This past December 3rd, Canada lost one of its greatest pioneers of Indian classical music - bansuri player Catherine Potter. A disciple of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Catherine was one of Canada's top practitioners of Indian classical music, and was internationally renowned as a performer of bansuri.

Over the years, I had the fortune to perform with Catherine in a variety of settings - accompanying her in performances of Indian classical music, sitting in with the Duniya Project, accompanying her as a guest with fusion group Ragleela, and performing as part of the electronica group Ramasutra. But, before all that, before I even began to play tabla, Catherine was an important inspiration. The first-ever concert of Indian classical music that I ever attended was Catherine's bansuri recital. She encouraged me to begin my study of tabla, and put me in touch with my first tabla teacher in Montreal. In the years that followed, we would sometimes practice together, and whenever we met, Catherine would ask about my tabla practice and encourage me to push forward.

Here is a photo from an Indian classical music performance, accompanying Catherine back in 2008.

While many of us knew that Catherine was ill, her passing still came as a shock. News of her passing travelled like a wave through music circles around the world. In the days that followed, it became evident just how many people were touched by Catherine and her music. The world has indeed lost a great artist.

I have assembled a collection of links to newspaper articles published since Catherine's passing:

Catherine's memorial service will be held on January 22. All the details can be found here:

Montreal Constellation

This past November 27, I was extremely honoured to have been invited to peform as part of the Kabir Cultural Centre's Montreal Constellation concert. For this special event, they invited all the local practitioners of Hindustani classical music to collaborate in an evening performance.

Each artist presented one raga (sorry that I don't recall all the raags performed). First to perform was santoor player Jonathan Voyer, accompanied by myself on tabla. Jonathan performed Raag Yaman in Alap, Rupaktaal, and Drut Teentaal. Next, sitarist Uwe Neumann, accompanied by Subir Dev on tabla, followed by sarodiya Aditya Verma, accompanied by myself. For the finale, all artists performed together on stage in Raag Kirwani - Alap, Vilambit Teentaal and Drut Teentaal.

It was truly a magical evening, and it was an honour to perform with such talented artists. It was a real coming-together of the local Indian music scene. This was also my first time performing with another tabla player in a traditional setting. Subir is a wonderful tabla artist, and it was a pure pleasure to perform together. I sincerely hope that we will be able to have other such occasions to perform together in the future.

For those of you who know the local scene, a major absence was felt, as bansuri player Catherine Potter was unable to participate due to her ill health. She passed away 6 days later. I will devote an entire post to Catherine in my next blog posting. Needless to say, her passing created waves across the entire Canadian music landscape, touching people from coast to coast.

All photos by Arif Khan of the Kabir Cultural Centre.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Touring with Ragleela

In mid-August, I had the pleasure of touring with the Indian-fusion group, Ragleela. During the past seven years, I have performed on-and-off with this group as needed. I was delighted when the called me to go on a small Eastern-Canada tour with them. The group is led by sitarist Uwe Neumann, accompanied by guitarist Jean-Marc Hébert, violinist Marie-Soleil Belanger, percussionist Eric Breton, with myself on tabla.

First stop on the tour was a 5am (!) sunrise performance at the beautiful Parc Forillon in Gaspé, which is right at the eastmost tip of the province of Quebec. The festival was aptly named Festival Musique du bout du monde (edge of the world). It was quite something, leaving the hotel at 3:30am for a 4am sound check. We weren't sure how many people would show up for such an early performance. As we did the sound check, people slowly trickled onto the site, and by the time we were performing, an estimated 250 people were in attendance! wow!

Needless to say, the scenery was just amazing, and the vibe of a sunrise performance is quite unique. Luckily, someone also posted a short video!

We then went on to perform again on Gaspé's main street later that afternoon.

Special thanks to the Festival Musique du Bout du Monde for the incredible photos of our performance.

We then continued on to perform at DANSpace in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I unfortunately don't have any photos of this performance. Next, we embarked on a long drive across Prince Edward Island, and took the five-hour ferry to the Iles-de-la-Madeleine. Amazing scenery all around; I definitely need to get back there when I have the chance. We performed for two nights at the Vieux Treuil. (NB: The soundman there is incredible!!!)

Overall, an amazing tour. I am now a full member of Ragleela, and am looking forward to many more performances in the years to come! :)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Tabla North of the Arctic Circle!

Hi everyone,

My apologies for the long silence. The past several months have been a very busy and complex time. I will do my best to fill in the blanks in the coming days!

This past June 29-July 2, I had the pleasure of performing in the Alianait Arts Festival, with the Indian folk group Galitcha. We gave a couple of performances and I also gave a tabla workshop. Alianait takes place up in Iqaluit, which is the capital city of Nunavut, in northern Canada. The population is approximately 12000 people, and at the time I was there, it was light 24 hours per day, with the sun visible for about 22 hours per day. It was a totally amazing experience! The people there were so welcoming and open to our music. The hospitality was great, and in the few days we were there, I really had a thorough experience of life up north. I would be more than happy to return any time! (Actually, I would love to see what it is like during wintertime!)

The festival closed on July 1, with Canada Day celebrations. At the end of the day of performances, all the artists got on stage and performed a big medley/jam together!

It seems that I have the honour of being the first tabla player to perform tabla in Iqaluit; wow!

Special thanks to Ed Maruyama for the photos!