Rendezvous with rising tabla players

March 29, 2013 , by Tina Tamrakar, Leave your thoughts
Rendezvous with rising tabla players » My Dreams Mag
Photo: Nilesh singh

Dheeraj Shrestha and Sanskriti Shrestha represent Nepal through the beats of their tabla.

A musical instrument similar to hand drums, Dheeraj is renowned as the leading Nepalese tabla player in Australia.

An irrepressible creativity, tremendous clarity, and exciting rhythmic improvisation are his stylistic hallmarks—his panache has established him worldwide as one of the finest exponents of tabla. 

A teacher at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Brisbane, Dheeraj has performed at venues like the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

On the other hand, his niece Sanskriti is considered to be Nepal’s youngest female tabla player. She comes from an exceedingly cultured family of professionals.

With her groundbreaking style of solo performance and collaboration, Sanskriti has established herself as the foremost female percussionist in Nepal. She is also the youngest female tabla player to represent Nepal at the Talent 007 programme organised by the Norwegian Government in Norway. 

Lately, the Shresthas were in London for a tabla workshop. Dreams’ Tina Tamrakar had an opportunity to catch up with Dheeraj. 

DREAMS: While growing up, did you dream of becoming what you are today?

DHEERAJ: While I used to play music as a child, I use to visualise my future. We have to think about what we want and where we want to be in future. So in that way, yes I did see myself where I am today. I was a dreamer. I had that vision and it has turned into a reality, but you do need to work hard to realise what you want.

Is there anything or anyone who inspires you?

I cannot point out a single thing that inspires me. There are many: This moment inspires me, the environment around me inspires me, and my niece inspires me when I see her play tabala. Music itself is an inspiration that I live each day.

Do we know the origins of tabla—where does it come from?

There has always been a big controversy. Tabla has always been in Nepal, the only thing is India introduced it on a larger scale. The word ‘tabla’ itself comes from eastern Egypt though.

Culturally, Nepal and India share the same beliefs with regards to Hindu mythology. So I would like to say that tabla is the music of spirituality; it’s the music from our temples. It’s pure meditating music where you can relate to god. And in this case it connects cultures too.

Why did you choose tabala, any particular reason behind it?

Tabla is an earthy instrument with a cultural value. There is nothing like sitting on the floor and playing tabla. Also, it’s a part of my culture and it makes me mediate. It makes the audience mediated unconsciously too and I enjoy that.

What are your views on classical music?

It is said that there are two types of music: traditional and non-traditional. But I believe there is no such as non-traditional–everything is one. Every instrument and all forms of music have their own value that can neither be measured nor be criticised.

Are there any difficulties being a classical musician?

While the audience look at our lives, they feel as if we are the most fortunate professionals. We might have that ‘wow factor’ when you see us, but trust me, musicians have to put a lot of hard work behind that.

When we go for concerts, there isn’t much money for the effort we put in. If it’s a big show, it looks like big money; most people even refuse to even pay $10. I want support from the audience so that classical musicians can make something financially and also be encouraged at the same time.

What would you advise young people who are chasing their dreams?

Hard work is the only key to success. There are no shortcuts in life. I worked hard and I did it. There are lots of professions in this world and each and everyone is talented in their own way. So do your best and follow the path of your dreams right away.

  • 7
  • 11
  • 15
  • Dheeraj & Sanskriti Shrestha
  • 1
  • 3

Tags: , , ,

Categorised in: Arts

Leave a Reply

Connect with:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Related Articles