There is a sound synonymous with devotional practices and sub-continental symphonies. A vibration from a twin-drummed instrument where its tonal depth is built into the hands of the musician.
The instrument is the Tabla. And its composition – encoded in the musician – is a lexicon of love.
Meet Dalbir Rattan. A Jedi of the percussive and mystical. A musician, teacher and artist, devoted to a centuries-old classical order.
This is an order centred around a spiritual bloodline. Preserved through an unbroken line of succession. A continuance, defined by the time and diverse circumstance in which the student appears.
And this student’s story – is a confluence of cultures.
From Tanzania to Yorkshire. From religious devotion, to punk and rock ‘n roll. It’s about rebellion. It’s about identity. It’s an anthology, viewed through the lens of friendship, performance and kinship.
Dalbir’s arc, is a spiritual scholarship. Gifted by his Papaji; through a devotional and loving mentorship. A tutelage that would later extend to one of the world’s most endeared percussionists. An Ustadji – revered teacher – whose signature of play has become truly peerless.
You don’t choose music. You don’t train somebody to be a kalakar or an artist. Something happens which changes that for you.Dalbir Rattan
This is a conversation that reminds us that the preservation of a classical form; is directly apportioned to the cultural relevance of its time. And it’s through a student’s pursuit of identity – that a freedom of interpretation – will always ensure that the form remains relevant. For this time and the next.
It’s a conversation about inventive curiosity. About posture, confidence and embracing experimentation. It’s about fierce devotion to a craft. But above all, it’s about the composition of succession. The widened aperture of the guru-disciple relationship.
Dalbir’s ambassadorship for the art form and his hugable human form, make for a truly inspiring listen. And through my – renewed – pursuit of friendship, I hope you enjoy this exchange, with all its vigour, love and compassion.
Blessings and love,
Dalbir Rattan: Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Discography
Karma Boy Music: Instagram | Website | iTunes | Spotify | YouTube
Aziz Ibrahim: Instagram | Website
Dharambir Singh MBE: Instagram | Website
Danny Ladwa: Instagram | Website
Roopa Panesar: Instagram | Darbar
Album: Studio 150 – Paul Weller
YouTube: Do you speak Tabla?
YouTube: Roopa and Dalbir in Stornoway – Raag Suha
YouTube: Roopa and Dalbir in Stornoway – Raag Bhairavi
YouTube: Aziz Ibrahim and Dal – The White Stripes of Mumbai
Website: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Website: Sampad Arts UK
Website: The Bhavan London
Man Behind The Lens – Bob Greaves: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Email