Anirban Roy Chowdhury
Anirban’s tabla virtuosity abilities/ technical aspects of his music and instrument his masterful integration of classic Punjab gharana techniques:
Anirban has learnt under the tutelage of tabla legends Late Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Yogesh Samsi. Anirban was a senior faculty at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai from 2000 to 2005, Academy Of Indian Music ( AIM ) in New Jersey, USA from 2010 to 2012 and Bharatiya Kala Kendra ( BKK ) in New Jersey, USA from 2012 to 2014.
Along with being an accomplished tabla player Anirban has also created innumerable tabla compositions. Anirban is a founder/ director of “Rhythm Eternal” NGO has recently produced concert series in multy citys in India with many celebrities in indian classical music, presenting his compositions and work as well as highlighting and sharing the rich tradition of Punjab gharana, to which he belongs. Anirban is also a talented lyricist and a composer, who has written and composed several musical compositions of different genre. He plans to revive the influence of classical music into Bollywood film music, which is rarely seen these days.
Anirban has performed in numerous concerts and prestigious festivals in India and abroad. He has given solo performances many universitys in US as well as accompanied eminent musicians including.
Anirban understands tempo well and has perfect command over time keeping. He is able to play tabla with vocalists as well as with instrumentalists; and he understand the specific requirements of the artist whom he is accompanying. He knows how to perform tabla solo. The art of solo tabla playing is not easy. Anirban has thorough knowledge, tremendous discipline, good memory and the ability to gradually and systematically build his performance. His presentation of the peshkar, the introduction of a qaida, the imaginative but principled development of the qaida, the systematic introduction of relas, gats and parans, all in a disciplined manner make a good solo. Anirban’s solo themes which form the basis of the peshkar, qaidas, relas, gats, tukaras, chakradars, bedam chakradhars, anagat, tipalli, choupalli, parans and laggis that are played during the performance. Anirban’s tabla playing with dance is amazing. Anirban has perfect time-keeping and a very good memory. More importantly, Anirban has a sureela hand. His tabla is pleasing to the ears, his dayan and bayan are well-balanced, and he plays bols with love, finesse and sensitivity. The bols are clear, crisp and clean and sound the same at all tempos.
The Punjab gharana Anirban is strongly influenced by Pakhawaj and uses a lot of the bols and techniques of that older instrument. Anirban focus on layakari creating extremely intricate structures in barabar, aar and kuaar. his focus on Peshkar, kayda, rela and are complex. The production of a gliding sound on the Bayan is a specialty of his tabla solo performance.
TABLA MAESTRO ANIRBAN ROY CHOUDHURY:
Born into a family of musicians in Assam (India) child Anirban’s soul responded to the rhythm and beats of tabla (percussion instrument). He instinctively mastered the intricacies of bols, taals and various patterns of tabla playing which he could flawlessly replicate even when he was a child. He was acknowledged to be a child prodigy. During years of his formal schooling won school and state competitions.
As a boy he was inspired when he saw Ustad Zakir Hussain perform in Assam. As a boy, he was trained by his father Akhil Roy Chowdhury and his elder brother Animesh Roy Chowdhury in Assam. He ran away to Bombay as a teenager to be trained in tabla by the famous Ustad Alla Rakha ( Allarakha Institute of Music) and Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Yogesh Shamsi. It was a rigorous training involving hours of back-breaking practice. Ustad Zakir Hussain occasionally chose Anirban to play tabla solo with him. That was a God-sent opportunity to learn more and an eye-opener for Anirban. Anirban taught numerous young tabla students and tabla players in USA, Canada, Europe, UAE, Bangladesh and India.
IMPORTANCE OF TABLA AS A PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT:
Tabla is played both as a solo and as an accompanying music instrument. The legendary Sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar was the first person to note the unique potential of tabla. He welcomed celebrated tabla players namely Ust. Alla Rakha, Pt. Chatur Lal, Pt Kanai Dutta etc to perform solo at his sitar recitals. Ust. Zakir Husssain credits him with being the pillar of support to tabla players, because he allowed tabla players to fly on their own expertise. Pt. Ravi Shankar had lifted from South Indian music the long established practice of a Ghatam or a Mridangam playing solo pieces, to the North music domain. Ustad Zakir Hussain, who forayed into other areas of music, enriched them with his contribution in tabla. In short, the intricate sounds of tabla are not produced by any other percussion instrument throughout the world.
IMPORTANCE OF GHARANAS (Lineage): Gharana of a musician is his identity. He unfolds the beauty of the gharana in his renderings, often lifting it to celestial heights. Even on the internet the beauty of a gharana is evident.
IMPORTANCE OF PUNJAB GHARANA: Ust Alla Rakha Qureishi was the grand-master and torch-bearer of the Punjab gharana which is the leader of all tabla /Indian percussion tradition. The gharana is of very ancient lineage. Other tabla gharanas heavily borrow from Punjab gharana.
ANIRBAN’S – EVOLUTION INTO AN ARTIST, COMPOSER, MUSIC CREATOR AND EVOLUTIONIST OF VARIOUS EXCITING PERCUSSION PATTERNS AND RHYTHM
His tabla rendition is unique in style since it enriches Indian, Latin American, African and Western music, as much as it enlivens all kinds of dance. The dexterity, speed, finesse of his hitting the notes in the rhythmic cycles – so essential to both vocal and instrumental music - make Anirban’s style unforgettable. The technical wizardry of his tabla renderings, the sharp and poignant notes and boles effortlessly gel with music and dance. Anirban is the torch-bearer of the younger breed of Punjab gharana tabla players. The Punjab Gharana boasts of legendary tabla players like Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pt. Yogesh Shamsi etc.
About his Music: Anirban's style, based on 25 years of intense training under the expert guidance of his teacher Ustad Allarakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Yogesh Samsi. Beside mastering the typical Punjab Gharana, Anirban studied the Lucknow Gharana style with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. Outstanding characteristics of Anirban's style are the distinct tonal quality and clear expression in each single detail of the rhythm pattern he plays. He makes the tabla sing and talk. Each individual 'bol' (syllable, such as dha, tita, terekete, dhere-dhere, traka, kradha, naraghena etc.) seems to be alive with joy. His playing captivates listeners, driving them with the pulse and flow of the rhythm, and his inventiveness always leads to surprises. Thanks to his confident approach he is a valued solo performer and collaborator in any conceivable musical field. A Multitalented Musician
To date Anirban has made innumerable innovative compositions which were used in concerts he has organized worldwide:
* Example – Adyapith Concert – Jazz Fusion combination.
* Directed sitar, flute, western guitar and violin, tabla leading the percussion, in a superb ensemble.
* Composed and performed in Switzerland and France.
* Invited to offer a Master class to students in the percussion department of the prestigious Steinhardt School of music, NY University. The amazed students of western music avidly took away bits of Anirban’s music. They noted the transcendental nature of beats of Anirban’s renderings.
* Anirban’s tabla compositions in ‘teentaal’ (16 beats) and ‘Rupak taal’ ( 7 Beats ) can seamlessly gel with western djambe and drums. The students learnt the innovative ways of playing percussion instrument which they were never exposed to in the past.
* In the annual 10-days Ustad Zakir Hussain tabla retreat IONS (in California), cut off from telephones and internet, Anirban merrily gives and takes from all kinds of music world wide.
FUSION MUSIC AND ANIRBAN: Fusion music is a grey area which beckons dynamic explorers. In order to venture into that grey space one must root his feet firmly in his native music, then foray into fusion. Growing up as a child prodigy in percussion music (tabla), later groomed in the Punjab style of tabla playing, Anirban has made innumerable journeys into various kinds of music available in the world. His audience, both Indian and foreigner, have given him plenty of opportunity to gel with all kind of music in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. He got deeply involved in the life and culture of those continents. He is as much at home in African, Latin American, and native American life, culture and music, as he is in Indian. He delighted in sharing their life and bread. One must live with the Bauls and Sufis to comprehend their philosophy and life. World music is a huge spectrum which suffers from a dearth of well- versed and dynamic musicians. Anirban finds fusion music soul-stirring, and not just intellectually driven. His innovative art (the tabla), enriched with the flavours of various kinds of music, seamlessly transcends various eastern, western and fusion music categories. The testimonials kindly given by Grammy winner Panditt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya, Dr L Subramanium, Kavita Krishnamurty, Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota, Ghajal Maestro Gulam Ali, Pankaj Udhas, Vidushi Haimanti Shukla, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Pandit Tanmoy Bose, and Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Pandit Partho Sarothy, Pandit Subhankar Banerjee speak volumes in support of Anirban’s claim.
ANIRBAN THE TEACHER, COLLABORATOR AND EXAMINER OF INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC STUDENTS OF VARIOUS SCHOOLS ACROSS THE USA, GLOBALY AND INDIA:
Teaches hundreds of students as a senior tabla instructor from Bharatiya Kala Kendra ( BKK) in New jersey and Academy of Indian Music ( AIM ) in New Jersey. Teaches the technical and analytical components of tabla playing. Teaches the mathematics behind tabla compositions. He is the conductor and senior examiner for various music and dance schools across the USA, imparting various forms of music education to mainstream students. His knowledge of timing the beats of tabla and its superior skills are an invaluable instrument to judge a student’s proficiency and level of his learning the art of tabla playing (percussion) for style of indian dancing Latin-Flamenco/Western dance certified schools in the US call him every year to conduct oral and written exams for students. Anirban composes scores for Latin/Flamenco and Ballet schools.
ANIRBAN THE INVALUABLE ARTIST IS A MUCH NEEDED ASSET FOR THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE:
He raises a batch of students, teaches them and performs with them at various public concerts. The non-profit organization named RHYTHM ETERNAL, conceived by Anirban and launched in Kolkata india to spread Autism awareness in the world, is supported by ‘Art Speaks for Autism’ of the New Jersey University ‘Rhythm Eternal’s Calcutta chapter’s debut conference was held in 24 March 2014. The debut conference was a grand success and it received much welcome support of established musicians like Pandit Partho Sarothy, Pandit Subhankar Banerjee, Pt Samar Saha, Vidushi Haimanti Shukla etc. More chapters of Rhythm Eternal are planned for the metro cities of the subcontinent.
ANIRBAN THE MOST DEPENDABLE BRIDGE: In his journey in music Anirban is committed to act as an invaluable bridge between Indian classical and music abroad. The idea is to obtain a perfect blend of indian classical and western jazz/contemporary music and create fusion ensembles. To this ennobling task he is a 100% devoted artist.
ANIRBAN THE ERUDITE SCHOLAR AND PROFICIENT TEACHER: Anirban holds B.Mus and M.Mus degrees from two distinguished music institutes of India. He has the experience of teaching at Academy of Indian Music ( AIM ) in New jersey, Bharatiya Kala Kendra ( BKK ) in New Jersey and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Mumbai and various institutes across the USA
THE PURPOSE OF THE CURRENT MUSIC JOURNEY: The current music journey has the professional goal of achieving a perfect blend of Indian and music abroad, particularly in the domain of percussion instruments.
Anirban Roy Chowdhury’s tracks