Listening to Ustad Zakir Hussain is always magical!!! He makes his tabla sing, dance and chant sholakas. He can make Bramha, Vishnu, Mahesh, Ganapati wake up and take notice of someone calling them out!

Rela’s – Ustad ji has the most entertaining way of describing a term like rela -he choose this one to explain what rela is to the audience of Nagpur “ They said when the steam engine pulled into..Nagpur…at a superfast speed of twelve miles per hour. So the maharaja in those days told his court musicians please compose a rhythmic composition for this memorable occasion. So he took the syllable (bol) dhiredhire and composed a drum roll-like composition and of course the maharaj in his own wisdom gave tha composition on the word rel, rela. So here’s a rela. performance and he went on to demonstrate a steam engine sound using tabla syllables. Here is an mp3 from one of his older performances where he defines a rela and then performs it.

He went on to play several relas demonstrating Shloka’s Radha-Krishna Ched Chad, pitter patter of rain interspersed with thunder and lightning

It was a performance I thoroughly enjoyed watching with Aasim who at the end said – ” I did not understand all of it, but I still did“. Aasim has been learning tabla only since past three months and has not yet gone beyond the initial kayda of trital…

After the concert, we met Aasim’s tabla guru Mr. Ramesh Uike and Ramesh ji’s Ustad, Ustad Sheru Khan, a contemporary of Ustad Alla Rakha – Guru and Father of Ustad Zakir Hussain.

Ustad Sheru Khan performed on a different plane all together – at 82, he quickly taught the people who surrounded him some gat’s and tukda’s by just spelling out the bols and clapping – its a different language these people talk in they are capable carrying out a complete conversation in ta tirkit, dha!!!

8 thoughts on “Rhythm”

  1. I really really love listening to music. I sometimes with I had learnt to play an instrument of some sort. My heart flows with the music. My hands playing an instrument just cannot keep up with my thoughts.

    1. Its never too late to learn music. Pick up the instrument you want to learn, search for a guru/ustad and just start. The journey is long, never ending and its enthralling right from the beginning.. No point in regretting.

  2. I got teary-eyed at your description of Ustad Sheru Khan teaching people a few quick rhythms by clapping them out. It’s an amazing experience to be part of – attended a performance several years ago, when in the middle of it, the singer stopped singing to allow the tabla player to quite literally have a conversation with the harmonium player just through beats and tones. It was awesome. Thanks for reminding me of it.

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