Category Archives: Rhythm Riders

Gratefully Overwhelmed

[Old entry that I never got around to posting]

The last stop on Tabla Ecstasy‘s North America tour was Toronto.  My family and family friends did a fantastic job organizing the show.  For most, it was the first time they were going to hear me (or Tabla Ecstasy) perform.  Though still an amateur, I had the honour of opening for my gurubhais.  But before that, I had to get on stage and introduce my world, beginning with Guruji.  As I looked out at the 500+ audience and started speaking, I choked.  Normally, I am very comfortable on stage, emceeing is something I’ve been doing since childhood. This wasn’t supposed to be difficult.  Without notice, my eyes had filled up with tears and I was at a loss of words.   I was overwhelmed with gratitude.   Many of the those who sat in front of me had seen me grow up in front of them and today they were all there to show their support for what I was doing and be apart of my world, even if it was only for a few hours.  Even as I sit here recounting the moment, I am overcome with emotion, reminded yet again of the countless hidden threads of love that give me strength in my journey.  I say it time and time again and even though it doesn’t seem sufficient.  Thank you.

The whole evening is one that I will never be able to forget.   We all felt the outpouring of sincere blessings and good wishes.  The energy that was cultivated that night was something beyond words.

My performance that night was not my best, as I had been battling the flu all week, but nonetheless here is a clip.


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On the Road

Touring is an experience. It’s been great to reconnect with so many friends over the last few weeks. We’ve really been all over the place, but haven’t at the same time in comparison to what it is going to be like next time around (this time its been VA, NC, SC, GA, NY, NJ, PA and CA, while next time its going to be a more comprehensive US tour).

There have been many highs. One of them being the incredible response we are getting show after show. To see the years of practice that the Tabla Ecstasy artists have done being appreciated and to see the impact they are having on their listeners has been wonderful. The number of well-wishers that this group is just growing and growing. One of the responsibilities I have on the road is to get feedback from the audience after the show and many many times I have been so overwhelmed by the true heartfelt wishes and prayers for the success that people are giving for the group. I am reminded time and time again how fortunate I am to be apart of this wonderful family and to have Guruji in my life.

This week is our last week in the US. We have shows in Albany (tonight), Manhattan (April 17th) and Princeton (Sunday). Then we head North to Canada, where I have the privilege of opening for the group during our Toronto show.

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On Tour

The first week of the Tabla Ecstasy US tour is now over and what a week its been. The guys (Tabla Ecstasy) have played 5 shows in 6 days and we’ve traveled from Jersey down to Georgia. Each show has been a different audience, but the response has been the same – immense appreciation. Its great to be on tour with this group and be able to hear them night after night and share that experience with so many people.

One of my personal highlights of this week has been watching as the members re-connect with family and friends here in the US (many of them are meeting after years). It’s heartwarming to watch the interactions and see the smiles grow wider and wider after each meeting.

Now its time for my homecoming =). We head out to California tomorrow where I get to meet two of my closest friends after many years.

Here are some snaps from the programs so far:

Tabla Player Sahil Patel

Sahil is all Smiles

Tabla Ecstasy in Charlotte

Tabla Ecstasy in Charlotte

Tabla Player Loren Oppenheimer

Loren performs in his hometown of Charlottesville

Loren in his hometown of Charlottesville.

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A Glimpse into Tabla Class

Many have wondered what tabla “class” is like for me and how Guruji teachs.  Well, here is a little video that gives you a glimpse into a teaching session.  I’m lucky because I get to sit in on these sessions a lot and as you’ll see they are a lot of fun to be apart.   Guruji is teaching some gurubhais different compositions from two gharanas that he has been formally trained in, namely Ajrada and Delhi.  For those new to tabla, you’ll hear the  language of tabla (the fact that each stroke has its own name, along with its grammar, etc).

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Weeklong Indian Music Workshop in India!

Its a common thing to hear that people are interested in Indian music, want to understand it a but better, but don’t have the time to dedicate themselves to a full study of it. Here’s a great program for those interested in learning about Indian music. If you are already practice Indian music, its a way to deepen your understanding, learn from Guruji (Pandit Divyang Vakil), work with the world fusion group Taan and Rushi and jam with musicians from around the world for a week!

Intrigued by Indian Music?
Want to learn how use Indian rhythm and melodies?
Explore the vast world of Indian music in India
Rhythm Riders invites you to
1 Week Indian Music Workshop in India
Aug 1 – 9, 2010 in Mount Abu, Rajasthan
*Experience India through its music amidst nature
*Explore Indian music, from its classical and folk to its contemporary forms
*Nightly jam sessions and concerts
*Learn to adapt Indian Music to your own music and instrument
*Special workshops on Indian percussion
*Special lectures with Tabla Guru Pandit Divyang Vakil
Final Concert Performance with World Fusion Group Taan
Open to musicians from around the world
instrumentalists and vocalists of all music genres welcome
Fees cover teaching, accomodations, local transportation, food and events.
**Airfare not included**
Register by April 30th, 2010.
Contact Rhythm Riders at
or call (201) 467 4431
For information on Rhythm Riders, visit

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Rhythm Riders – world of tabla, indian music and dance

As Rhythm Riders continues to grow, there have been lots of changes happening, including a makeover of our electronic presence. We’ve launched our newly-designed website. Please check it out at It’ll give you more information about the wonderful people I work with and the amazing environment of music that I am blessed to be apart of.

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Tabla Ecstasy and Jindidi chale Canada

In October, I returned back to Canada to welcome the Rhythm Riders family to my birthplace. The leaves had started to change colours in preparation for their arrival, ready to display the beauty of autumn and the wind had picked up to give them a cold Canadian welcome I suppose.

It was a busy, super successful and fun-filled trip. I got to show everyone the place I called home for so many years. Most members of Tabla Ecstasy were in Toronto for the first time. In the months before the trip, I, along with those who had been to Toronto, had been preparing a list of things that we had to do. We crammed in as much as possible in the limited time between rehearsals and shows. The reactions were exactly as anticipated. It was a joy to share so much in those few days. Watching them take everything in made me appreciate the common sights and sounds I often take for granted.

On the music side, the trip was a HUGE success. All the audiences were left spellbound and appreciated the artists with standing ovations. We had a great mix in the audiences we performed for – from true listeners of Indian classical music/dance to completely untrained ears, who had come to show out of intrigue – and the response was overwhelming. New connections were forged and the concert organizers all offered their support for future tours. On the personal front, people from my community got an even better idea of what I am aiming for as they heard Tabla Ecstasy and began to understand the level of tabla playing that I am striving for in order to turn professional (and of course through Guruji they see what is possible even beyond that). Jindidi impressed as always with her wonderful Kathak performances.

The tour had been planned for months, but it went by in a flash. There were many lessons, great fun, tons of memories and of course, lots of pictures. I got a new DSLR right before the tour and managed to get some great shots of the concerts. The tour would not have been possible without the support of a lot of people and I especially have to give a huge thank you to my family and family friends for going out of their way to make this trip special for everyone. When seeing everyone in action, particularly my parents, I am reminded time and time again that my own drive to help others was instilled in me through their example.

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