The Indian Weekender, February 22, 2019
Auckland fans of Indian percussion music had the rare opportunity to listen to well-known Mumbai based tabla doyen Pandit Sadanand Naimpally last Sunday morning.
One of the outstanding tabla and pakhawaj maestros of India, Sadanandji packed in a lot in his hour-and-a-half long performance. He explained in great detail about each individual rhythmic piece that he performed – its origin, history, character and other details.
The scholar-percussionist described Sunday’s performance in the midst of listeners, trained percussionists, table teachers and students as an ‘interaction’. “Every time I perform like this and share what I know, I also learn from the audience. Everyone has something different to offer, like their own interpretation of the art, which is new to me,” he said.
Auckland’s noted table player and teacher Manjit Singh played the lehra accompaniment on the harmonium and started off the post-performance question and answer session with a query.
Several keen students, listeners, musicians and instrumentalists followed up with their own questions, which Sadanandji answered patiently and to their satisfaction. Their questions and discussions continued in the meet and greet session over tea and snacks after the session.
Mohan Nadkarni Foundation, the Auckland based charitable trust that promotes traditional performing arts education and performance organised the baithak (sitting) that was held at the premises of the Naad Community Centre at East Tamaki.
A metallurgical engineer by profession and musician by choice, Sadanandji has travelled the world and the top instrumentalists and vocalists that he has accompanied in his long career reads like the who’s who of India’s musical scene. Titles such as ‘Taal Martand,’ ‘Layanand,’ ‘Swar Sadhna Ratna’, conferred by elite musical institutions across India, sit lightly on his humble shoulders.
He was initiated into the art of tabla playing by legendary Guru and Tabla/Pakhawaj maestro, Pandit Taranathji, of Farrukkhabad Gharana. At an early age he won the President’s award at the All India Radio competitions in 1963. He was also adjudged the most accomplished young Tabla player at the Inter-University Youth Festival and was invited to join a Students Delegation to Europe and the Middle East.
Sadanandji has written a book entitled “Theory and Practice of Tabla” with a foreword by Ustad Zakir Hussain, which was available for sale on Sunday. Several people bought signed copies.