Tabla Master Class by Pt. Abhijit Banerjee

Chinmaya Nada Bindu Gurukula was invited to conduct a tabla Master Class by Chinmaya Mission, Pune. The Master Class was held at the Chinmaya Mauli Ashram on 19 and 20 August 2022. The ambience was perfect for the master class, just like a gurukula. On entering, one felt the calm and purity around. The first sight was that of the beautiful temple of Bhagwan Vitthal and Rukmini. 

The Master Class was conducted by Pt. Abhijit Banerjee (Professor, School of Kalayoga, CVV) who is a tabla maestro of international repute. Pt. Abhijit Banerjee follows the tradition of Farukhabad gharana (tradition). A disciple of late Pt. Gyan Prakash Ghosh, Pt. Banerjee has toured all over the world as a tabla soloist and as well as an accompanist, accompanying nearly all the stalwarts of Hindustani classical music.

The workshop was designed to give participants indepth knowledge about – 

  • Riyaz techniques
  • Concept of composition and their improvisation
  • Concept of laykari
  • Ideal accompaniment

The first session began with welcoming Pt. Banerjee and felicitating him with a shawl and a coconut in the traditional Indian style. After prayers, we started with warming-up with some phrases. Pt. Banerjee taught a famous kayda (called ‘baant’ (बांट) in the Banaras gharana.  He displayed different paltas (पलटा) of the kayda and the participants practised religiously for the whole day. At the end of the day, we all realised that without even writing we could remember those variations. The participants were then taught some riyaz techniques of phrases for practice. 

On the 20th, the class began with some warm-up exercises. The entire day was then spent playing the whole kayda/bant with all the paltas/variations. The main focus was on riyaz techniques, improvisation, accompaniment and laykari. The participants could try improvisation in Taal Bhajani with Pt. Banerjee who then taught some new tukra (fixed compositions). The day ended with a quick question-answer session and concluded with a shanti mantra. 

The Master Class was organised by Smt. Pramodini Rao (Head, School of Kalayoga) and Dr. Atul Kamble (Assistant Professor, School of Kalayoga).

Report by Ankit Dalal (third-year MA Music – Tabla)