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!


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Emperor of Tabla

Emperor of Tabla was a title bestowed upon Guruji, Pandit Sharda Sahai-ji, by the mahant (head) of the Sankat Mochan Temple in Benares. I thought it fitting then to use this title for the first annual celebration concert in honour of Guruji. It was also Saraswati puja and Basant Panchmi, so a very auspicious date for the event.

I was really touched by the amount of people that attended. The Sivananda Centre has always been an important patron of Indian music in Montreal, but I have never seen the place so full! Thank you so much to all the participants and attendees for making it such a special evening!

Caroline welcomed everyone with her story of meeting Guruji, and the ensuing documentary project. We then proceeded to tabla solos by three of my students: Jean Greusard, Emily Thompson, and Parker Bert. Emily and Parker were accompanied on cello by Kaitlyn Raitz, and I accompanied Jean on harmonium. This was Jean's first time playing tabla in public and he performed really solidly in his Jhaptaal solo. Next was Emily with her solo in Rupaktaal, followed by Parker with a solo in Teentaal. They all did really well!

Jean reciting a tukra.
Emily deep in concentration.
Parker and Kaitlyn
Parker looking very confident!
Guru-bhai Ravi Singh, who came in from Toronto with his family, shared stories about Guruji and the Benares gharana between the solos. After the student solos, Ravi and I played our duet in Teentaal, accompanied by Kaitlyn on cello. Ravi and I had spoken about playing as a duo in the past, but unfortunately the opportunity never materialized; last night was the perfect occasion for our first duo outing. We played bhumika and uthaan, followed by Benarsi theka through three speeds, all in conversation. Ravi played an ari angrusthana, and I followed with a rela. We then joined together for an exchange in the famous DhaRaDhaDheTeTe Benarsi bant, through the laykaris (4-5-6-7-8), culminating in gat and gat-fard in rela. We then switched to madhya laya and went through a number of tukras and parans, each with a story linked to Guruji. We both had a great time, and the audience seemed to enjoy very much. I am very much looking forward to the next time!

A wonderful celebration of Guruji and the tradition that he passed on to us. Thank you to all who made this event so special.

A special thanks to Ravi Singh and his family for coming all the way from Toronto to participate, and to my students Parker, Emily, Jean, and Kaitlyn for their contributions. Thank you to the Sivananda Centre in Montreal for hosting, to Jonathan Voyer for helping with the sound, and to Caroline Tabah for the photos!