In the spotlight Children

Tryst with the tabla

Sandeep Das

Sandeep Das   | Photo Credit: Max Whittaker

Sandeep Das’s stint with music earned him laurels at the 59th Grammy Awards for the Best World Music Album.

Deep in concentration, his head moves in rhythm with his hands producing magic on the tabla. Sandeep Das’s rendezvous with the instrument dates back to when he was 16, and there has been no looking back, ever since. On February 12, he won the Best World Music Album with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble “Sing Me Home” at the 59th Grammy Awards.

Considered to be one of the leading tabla players in the world today, Das has a professional career spanning more than 25 years. Born in India on January 23, 1971, Sandeep went on to study at St. Xavier’s High School, Patna. After completing his schooling in 1985, he pursued English Literature in Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Musical journey

Das started playing at the age of 16 and learned the intricacies of the instrument from Kishan Maharaj in Banaras. In 1986, he made his stage debut with Pandit Ravi Shankar. In 1990, he moved to Delhi and went on to play alongside stalwarts in the Indian Classical circuit including Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pandit. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Dr. L. Subramaniam and others. He found fame and recognition in the U.S. when he moved there in the 1990s.

He has composed and played alongside the legendary Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, string quartets and orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Boston Symphony Orchestra among others.

Das believes it is unfortunate that people in the west are fond of the Indian culture while those at home don’t value it as much. “Nothing grows in isolation and I realise that I have responsibility not just towards India but also to the people around the world who appreciate it,” he said.

He admits that while it feels great gaining recognition abroad, the recognition from home is something he will always treasure. “While I have been featured in New York Times and Washington Post, it still feels good when media back home takes note of one’s achievement.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:49:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/Tryst-with-the-tabla/article17333689.ece

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