Glad to see tabla making inroads into global music scene

Atharva Kasar
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New Delhi– Many remember him from the popular 1990s ‘Wah Ustaad commercial of Taj Tea where as a young boy, he sits alongside Ustad Zakir Hussain, playing the tabla with much effervescence. Tabla player Aditya Kalyanpur says that he is glad to see the instrument making inroads into the global music scene as an important percussion one.

“I am so glad that tabla has been able to make inroads into the global music scene as an important percussion instrument. Earlier on, it was rare that we heard tabla in a rock or pop album. Now it’s become extremely common,” Kalyanpur told IANS in an email interview.

Atharva Kasar

Having embarked on his musical career as a protégé of Ustad Allah Rakha Khan, Kalyanpur has come a long way and now effortlessly holds his own in the Indian classical music scenario, both in India and in the international arena.

Over the years, he has accompanied greats such as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma & A.R. Rahman to name a few. His forays into music have led him to collaborate with Keith Richards of “Rolling Stones”, Katy Perry and Grammy winner John Popper at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, New York.

“Recording with these rock/pop stars is always a great honour for me and I always look forward to it,” he said.

He says that the international artistes are very open to add tabla in their performances.

“Given the fact that I was invited to record with them itself shows that they are extremely open to our genre of music and willing to collaborate and explore newer sounds and musical possibilities,” he said.

Alongside continuously enthralling audiences with tapping out beats from gentle to fervent to a frenzied blur, Kalyanpur is also doing his best to make sure the flame of our rich music tradition does not flicker.

One of his proudest achievements has been the establishment of the Shyamal Music Foundation – a non-profit organisation, set up with the aim of raising funds for cancer patients through the benefit concert series ‘DISHA’ which feature inspiring artists and also gives a platform to younger artists helping preserve and promote Indian classical music.

He also founded the ‘New England School of Music’ in the United States to teach and train budding artists and keep the tradition of Indian classical music alive.

He feels that God has been kind to him.

“Like every profession, ups and downs are a part of life. However, with the blessings of my parents, gurus, and well-wishers, the musical journey has been extremely satisfying and fulfilling,” he said.

But why amidst all these collaborations, he never associated with Bollywood.

“Maybe someday if I am able to start my vocal riyaz again,” he said.

“Well, I still get called for several recordings regularly; easily available loops have probably made it easier for the composers. However, the skill set of a genuine tabla player is always required,” added Kalyanpur. (IANS)



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