22 January 2016 witnessed the passing of the Tabla maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh. An exponent of the Farukhabad Gharana had for over five decades regaled audiences both in India and abroad with his unique baaj (style) of playing the Tabla. Known for his innovative genius, he revolutionised both the art of Tabla solo performances as well as Tabla accompaniment. Here, the maestro first explains the various musical parts of a Tabla and how each of them plays a role in creating the overall sound and how they vary from one Gharana to another. He further talks about his associations with legends and luminaries of Indian Classical music such as Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravishankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan. He also recounts a funny anecdote about his entry into the ‘big league’ and a bitter-sweet experience of getting a passport! His days in the United States at the Ali Akbar College of Music were greatly significant in broadening his musical horizons. He was introduced to western forms such as Jazz and Rock. As he started collaborating with the like of John Handy, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, it led to the very first fusion music project featuring Indian classical compositions. The experience was also instrumental in forming the much acclaimed all-drum orchestra ‘Music of The Drums’ – later called the ‘Calcutta Drum Orchestra’. Pandit Shankar Ghosh was able to create a unique style of playing which is followed by his students, many of them considered as exponents of Tabla in the contemporary times.
Pandit Shankar Ghosh explains the various musical parts of Tabla and how those are explored in playing different Gharanas of Indian Classical Music
Pandit Shankar Ghosh fondly recalls the memories of his association with the legendary musicians such as Ali Akbar Khan, Ravishankar and Vilayat Khan