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A thrilling experience

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Amit Kavathekar is a highly talented young tabla player. Like many other gifted young tabla players, he has been living abroad in the United States. He makes occasional visits to the motherland to meet up with family and friends, as well as play concerts in the home country. He was here recently to perform at a solo concert and managed to impress the cognoscenti as well as the lay listeners.

Kavathekar, like most of his peer group percussionists, draws his repertoire from different gharanas of the tabla. In this programme at Thane (E), he played the Peshkar from the Punjab gharana and Qaidas from the Lucknow and Farrukhabad gharanas. He has been inspired by the personality and genius of the great Ustad Nizamuddin Khansaheb. He played the 'gat tukdas', which are a compositional patterns that Khansaheb used to play in his solo concerts. Nizamuddin Khansaheb was famous for his 'Lagginada' segment of the tabla, which is played while accompanying the thumri singers. Kavathekar played them towards the conclusion of the solo presentation.

For the last eight years he has been a faculty member at the New England Music School in the United States. “We have about 80-100 students in this school. Many of them are America-born Indians. I feel that their parents are doing a fantastic job by giving them exposure to the tabla and also to Indian classical music,” says Kavathekar.

“The school was founded in 2008 by tabla maestro Aditya Kalyanpur (Founder/Director) He invited me here in 2010 to teach in the school,” he added.

Kavathekar has accompanied musicians of the stature of sarod maestros Ustad Amjad Ali Khansaheb, Ustad Ashish Khan, Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Mujumdar and satar Maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez. Kavathekar has his own band titled 'Sawaari'. They play Moroccan, as will as Indian music. “Band artists Mike Rivard (bass and sintir), Fabio Pirozzolo (percussion), Jussi Reijonen (Oud) and myself,” Kavathekar said.

“Also, I collaborated with Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, chamber orchestras composed by Shirish Korde; and collaborated with Grammy Winner David Balakrishnan (from Turtle Island Quartet) in Purna Lokha Qurtet, which is the brand new quartet including Indian violin player Purnaprajna Bangere, along with David Balakrishnan, Jeff Harshburger and Myself,” says Kavathekar.

Listening to Amit Kavathekar playing his brilliant strokes on the tabla was indeed a thrilling experience.

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