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, 30 August 2013

Kirtan at the Wanderlust Festival in Mont-Tremblant

Mont-Tremblant is a beautiful ski resort in the Laurentians, about 90 minutes north-west of Montreal. When I think of Tremblant, I think of outdoor sports, like skiing, showshoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and so on. But yoga? Not really. But somehow, it happened. This past weekend, the Wanderlust Festival was in full swing. The village itself was the same, but rather than seeing the usual mountain bikers and hikers, the pedestrian streets were full of people with yoga mats strapped to their backs. There were vendors with coconut water, kombucha, fresh juices, yoga clothes, etc. The whole vibe of the village was quite different from the usual. Tremblant was most definitely transformed.

Big yoga class outside!
I was there to accompany Lea Longo for a kirtan, along with Rad Crasto on guitar, Marcelo on bass, and Genevieve on backing vocals. Though there were numerous yoga classes and activities going on all around, when I walked out in my white kurta-pyjama (traditional Indian clothing) for the kirtan, I could feel that many curious eyes were upon me. I was definitely feeling somewhat out of place, as no one else was wearing Indian-style clothing (aside from a couple of Indian families that joined in the kirtan), but rather, athletic-style yoga clothing was the primary outfit of choice. Aside from the few odd looks I received, people were very open-minded, and there was a very strong sense of community at the festival. During the soundcheck, people started to gather around, and once we started, more and more people came and joined in. After about 30 minutes, I'm sure that there were at least 150 people around the stage, with most of them singing along. Not bad!
Taking advantage of the silence to set up and tune! :)

We had fun, and people enjoyed! Until the next time!

Thanks to Caroline for the photos!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bansuri Concert with Chloé Bennett at H-OM

Before Chloé headed back home to India, we decided to organize a second concert for her (you can read about our first concert, at Sivananda Yoga, here), this time at H-OM Yoga in Vaudreuil-Dorion, just West of the island of Montreal. We were warmly welcomed by Heleen in her spacious yoga studio. We played acoustically, which surprisingly doesn't happen that often! The space has a very clean acoustic, with not much reverb. You can really hear every detail of the sound.

If I remember correctly, the raags included Puriya Kalyan in Jhaptaal and Teentaal, and Desh in Rupak.

I really enjoyed these two concerts with Chloé, and looking forward to her next visit to Montreal!

Thanks to Caroline for the photos!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Ragleela in Verchères for Musique sur le Fleuve

This past Sunday, I made the trip to Verchères for the first time. Verchères is a small town, just south-east of Montreal, about a 30-40 minute drive. Ragleela (this time, as a quintet) performed in the Musique sur le Fleuve series, organized by Suzie Auclair. Our noon-hour concert was really well attended, with about 350 people onsite. With the perfect weather and waterfront views, there's no wonder that this festival attracts a lot of people...

We played a 75-minute set, mostly made up of tunes from the upcoming album (yes, it is coming soon!). It was nice to have a few of the old favourites included as well, most notably Camp in Town, which opens with a tabla solo. No complaints here! :)

Left to right: Mathieu Deschenaux (bass), me (tabla), Uwe Neumann (sitar),
Jean-Marc Hébert (guitar), Eric Breton (percussion)
Uwe on sansa, for Sansonica!

Time for an encore, I think!
We all had a really fun day, and looking forward to the next time! Thank you to Suzie and the whole team for the warm (and very professional) welcome!

Thanks to Caroline for the photos!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ragleela at Heartroot Farm

This past Saturday, the Ragleela trio played at Heartroot Farm, in Audet, QC (a little past Lac-Megantic, near to the Maine border). It is a community farm, quite isolated, in a beautiful spot in the countryside. Run by Dawn Bramadat, the farm is a place where people connect with nature, through a combination of hard work, simple living, organic food, and spiritual practice. We were really well received, and it was a pleasure to share our music with those in attendance. We played in what I think used to be a barn, converted into a concert space, complete with stage and sound system. The space was very open, allowing the outside air to flow through, and providing us with panoramic views.

There was a short impromptu opening set by Dawn's daughter, Kyra (vocals, guitar) and her friend Steve on kora. Their music was calm and serene, and was perfect to set the mood. We went on to play two sets, combining pieces from the new album, as well as some older favourites. :)

Thank you to Caroline for the photos!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Kirtan in the Park

On Friday, July 26, I had the pleasure of accompanying Lea Longo and Rad Crasto for a kirtan in Westmount Park. The session was really well attended, by both kirtan regulars and people just passing by in the park (who were very surprised to see this type of participatory singing taking place). The session was filmed by Radio Canada for the show, Second Regard. I will post again once I know the broadcast schedule.

Thanks to Caroline for the photos!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Bansuri Concert with Chloé Bennett

This past Saturday, August 3, I accompanied bansuri player Chloé Bennett for her Indian music début in her hometown of Montreal. She has been living in India for the past five years, studying with legendary bansuri maestro, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. She is currently in town for a few weeks, visiting her family, and so we took this opportunity to set up a couple of concerts for her.

This first concert took place at the Sivananda Yoga Centre in downtown Montreal. The concert was really well attended, as many of Chloé's friends and family have never heard her play Indian music before. It was a very special occasion and Chloé did really well, engaging the audience with both her words and her music. She opened with raag Malkauns, with an alap-jor, followed by compositions in Jhaptaal and Teentaal. I particularly enjoyed the Jhaptaal composition; it's one of those that really sticks in your head, even hours after the performance. The Teentaal was a bit odd, as the melody began on khali, and so had a feeling of being flipped around backwards (this is not unusual). She then followed with raag Bageshri in Rupak, a thumri in Pilu, and then a Bengali folk song to conclude.

We were accompanied by flutist and bansuri player Marie Saintonge, which was a very welcome surprise for me.

Chloé on bansuri, with Marie on tanpura.

If you missed this concert, there is still another chance to hear Chloé before she heads back to India. We will be playing at H-OM Yoga in Vaudreuil-Dorion (3187 Harwood), on Friday, August 23 at 8pm.

I am really looking forward to it, and hope to see many of you there! For those of you in Montreal, it will be worth the trip! Here is a link to the Facebook event page, for those of you on Facebook.

As usual, thank you to Caroline Tabah for the photos!

Three Concerts at OpenMind Festival

This past week, I had the pleasure of accompanying three different artists over the course of three days at the OpenMind Festival in La Patrie, Quebec. OpenMind Festival is a music festival, bringing people together in a celebration of diversity and sound ecological practices. The festival takes place every two years, and in a different location that is always very isolated (no cell phone coverage this year!) and very beautiful. You may remember my performance with Uwe Neumann from the last OpenMind Festival, in 2011.

My first performance at this year's festival was an early evening concert with sitarist Uwe Neumann. I accompanied him in raag Kirwani, in Sitarkhani, followed by another raag in Rupak, the name of which has slipped my mind, and lastly, a Bhairavi in Teentaal. We concluded with Uwe's customary finale - an improvised piece on sansa.

A view of the stage and surrounding stunning views!
Next was a noon concert, accompanying santoor player Jonathan Voyer. Our outdoor performance was quickly rained out (Jonathan didn't even get to finish his alap), even though Jonathan had specifically decided NOT to play raag Megh (a monsoon raga, which would have been appropriate, considering the OpenMind theme of the day was water), and instead opted for Bhimpalasi. Well, raag Megh or not, the rain came down hard! The tech crew quickly scrambled to move us and all the equipment into ... how to explain ... an enormous, inflated white ball, with carpets and pillows laid out on the inside. It was a really nice, intimate setting for the music, but also incredibly hot! Jonathan wrapped up his alap, and we moved on to compositions in Rupak and Teentaal. It must have been 40 degrees (C) in there, no exaggeration. Nevertheless, we brought full energy (and lots of sweat!) to the performance, and the audience was extremely receptive.

Photo from soundcheck. No more photos from the outdoor stage, as it soon started to rain!

Inside the big inflated white ball. The stage was unfortunately placed behind an altar, as you can see here.

The ball!
Last, but not least, was a sitar performance with Toronto-based musician, Prosad. This was actually our first time meeting and playing together. Prosad has studied with musicians in both the Vilayat Khan style and Ali Akbar Khan style of playing, and so his approach was quite different from the Montreal-based musicians that I usually play with. It was great fun to follow and see where he might lead me. Lots of fun rhythmic interplay and intricate tihais!

Again, in the ball, and hidden behind the altar!

Overall, a great three days of tabla accompaniment! Thanks to Caroline Tabah for most of the photos, aside from the few cellphone shots. :)