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High Energy High Octane Ensemble resonates and charges audiences

Submitted by on October 8, 2011 – 12:04 pmNo Comment


Pandit Divyang Vakil’s Tabla Ecstasy, I believe now called Talavya, was certainly a delight to watch last evening. They took rhythmic permutations to it’s peak last night at a charity event to raise funds for the Krishna temple at New Jersey, USA. Typically a 4 member team, this performance was done with 3 – Rushi Vakil, Sahil Patel, and Michael Lukshis, with an additional harmonium support by Heena Patel.

These globe trotting percussion artists calling themselves Tabla Ecstacy, surely know what it takes to please a crowd for sure. They surely brought these otherwise, more known as an accompanying percussion to classical and indian music, to center stage.

I particularly enjoyed two aspects of their concert, the Tihais and the Relas.
Relas, originated from the rythmic sounds of the trains (Hindi word is rail) that’s heard as they speed through tracks, change tracks and pled through junction points where tracks meet. It’s in a way a soothing melodious sound, one hears on trains that is also likely to put you to sound sleep. This ensemble played compositions, highlighting such concepts with speed varying rhythms, curving through individual solos and joint harmony. It was simply brilliant and sped, rhythm and synchronization were absolutely stunning to say the least.
Tihai’s in its most basic format is composed of 3 equal repetitions of a rhythmic or melodic pattern, and this ensemble demonstrated it’s expertise with some real complex permutations.

The blend of solos, duo’s and trios, certainly brought the audience reverberating with the rhythms of the tablas. There was no dearth of claps and audience appreciation, as they showed their prowess in synchronization, varying speeds, highlighting nuances of the tabla and occasionally reciting the passages.

It is interesting to note that tabla is one instrument that you can use to express or even dialogue. It’s ability to be pitched from nuances to aggression, means that you can literally create a conversation, and a tabla player having expertise can actually, convert that into a tabla based conversation. In fact this ensemble also demonstrated that with an example of the sport Cricket.

The pieces played were composed by Indian music maestro Pandit Divyang Vakil, who was also present, frequently orchestrating the ensemble from the front row. Something, I personally never appreciate, in a live public performance as it is distracting to the audience, however, seemed to be the norm with this ensemble.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Pt. Divyang Vakil, is a genius in composing rhythmic passages that engulf elements of classical, and modern grooves that emotionally appeal to today’s audience. Like, I have mentioned on one of my earlier posts on fusion, we need visionary artists and teachers like him, to propagate and expand the audience of indian music. Kudos, to him, he is certainly doing that and bringing music that can be appreciated by the masses.

Pt. Divyang runs the Taalim school of music. I have great respect for teachers, who have dedicated themselves to the cause of teaching. Teachers, like Pt. Divyang, could with his mastery reach world glory and heights becoming focused on public concerts, but choose the road less travelled. We all should salute such personalities who sacrifice personal glory to promote art.

The evening performance started with a Kathak recital by a Korean artist Jin Wong. Her footwork precision shown through the jingles of 100 mini bells per feet, known as Ghungroos, was perfect. She showed her mastery over the command of the pieces, subject and the language, as she described each pieces. Having spent 8 dedicated years in india to master both the Kathak style and tabla, shows pure dedication and passion t indian music and art.

I must not leave out, one thing that made an immense impact on all of us yesterday … The compere or the master of the ceremony Heena Patel. She, to say the least was simply fantastic. I have seldom seen a flawless, and I really mean flawless, introduction and explanation of the artists, the concert, the music and the instruments on stage and everyone in the audience would agree, that she rose to pure perfection.Young artists should hear her and certainly learn the art of presenting their pieces the way she did it. A big kudos to her, as her fluency, confidence and extempore rendering of her role as MC, was a great opening to a fascinating evening.

Overall a great evening, that infused the audience with high energy, played with passion and power, subtlety and perfection.

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