Maritimes Tour

Last week, I packed up my tabla and drove out to the Maritimes for some concerts and workshops. It's a part of Canada that I haven't previously had much of a chance to see, and I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to visit. It's a beautiful part of the country and I hope to be able to return soon!

The tour started off in Charlottetown, PEI. Such a nice place to visit - red earth, amazing food, and really friendly people. I had a lot of fun lighthouse spotting during my one day off. And yes, their potatoes (and cheese) are awesome.

Am I on Mars or Prince Edward Island?

I don't know why, but I just find lighthouses fun...

In the morning, I gave a workshop at Holland College for Alan Dowling's world music class. It was also great to see David, one of my tabla students, who lives in Charlottetown!

Talking taal with Alan Dowling at Holland College

Later that afternoon, I drove out to Montague, PEI for a workshop at Montague Regional High School. The music teacher there, Kirk White, is an old friend back from when we were both students at McGill. I don't think we've seen each other for 18 years or so!

Keeping taal with Kirk White and his students at Montague Regional High School

Next stop, Halifax, Nova Scotia for a concert at the Scotia Festival's Music Room. Here, I collaborated with uber-talented Halifax musicians Ellen Gibling (a former McGill tabla student!) on harp, and flutist Jack Chen, for a program of music inspired by India, Bali, Japan, and Taiwan. Those familiar with Indian music culture will get this - we named the concert Jalsa Ghar, which means 'Music Room' in Hindi! How appropriate! :)

The program included a traditional tabla solo in Teentaal, accompanied by Ellen on harp; Jim Hiscott's Shadow Play, for flute and tabla; Tawnie Olson's Something to Say, for tabla and fixed media; Michio Myagi's Haru no Umi, for flute and harp; Ssu-Yu Huang's arrangement of Taiwanese folk song DueDueDon, for flute and harp; and to conclude, Ravi Shankar's l'Aube Enchantée, for flute, harp, and tabla. It was a wonderful evening; a really enjoyable performance, and great fun to collaborate with such amazing musicians.

Performing Jim Hiscott's Shadow Play with Jack Chen on flute, at the Music Room.

With Ellen Gibling on harp, at the Music Room.

The next morning, Ellen and I headed out to Acadia University in Wolfville, where I gave a guest lecture on taal for Ken Shorley's world drumming class, followed by a noon-hour recital - a 45 minute tabla solo in Teentaal, again accompanied by Ellen on harp. It's definitely not a traditional combination, but I think that it works really well!

Having fun with taal and tihai, with Ken Shorley and his class.

Performing tabla solo with Ellen Gilbling, the best lehra player in the East!

After the concert, we jumped back in the car and headed back to Halifax for a workshop and mini-performance at the Halifax Independent School. We were very warmly welcomed, and it was a pleasure to interact with students who were so engaging and inquisitive.

The next day, I visited Dalhousie University (also in Halifax), where I performed a mini tabla solo as part of the Percussion Ensemble's concert, followed by a workshop on traditional tabla, and finally, a workshop on composing for tabla. It was great to visit with my old percussion teacher D'Arcy Gray, who I haven't seen in quite some time, as well as composer Jerome Blais. The students at Dal are lucky to have them!

Talking about pakhawaj!

Talking about early works that included tabla.

Overall, an incredibly busy, incredibly stimulating week. The Maritimes are truly beautiful; I can't wait to go back!

Thank you to Alan, David, Kirk, Chris, Ellen, Jack, Ken, Nelle, Margaret, Catherine, John, D'Arcy, and Jerome for a wonderful week! And as always, thank you to Caroline Tabah for the photos!

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