Rimpa Siva was a child prodigy, an amazing talent who defied gender roles to become a role model of the tabla at a young age. Siva was all of 5 when she listened to her father, Swapan Siva, teaching all the boys who came to their residence to learn this art. He had initially expected his daughter to take to the sitar or vocal music. But within a year, when he noticed the clarity and power with which she began reproducing all the difficult lessons on the tabla, he began teaching her without a doubt.
This solo performance from the Darbar Festival 2007 is testimony to the prowess and finesse that Siva had already acquired at a young age. Years of involved and immersive practice has given her tremendous speed, vibrance and clarity. In many interviews, Siva has admitted her obsession for the tabla and that it means everything in her life.
She was discovered by the Darbar team at the Saptak, an annual music festival held in India during winters. In this concert, she commences her solo with a long ‘peshkar’ transposed over a 16-beat teental, producing each and every ‘bol’ with crispness and clarity. The consummate ease and spontaneity with which she takes the peshkar to a climax and then launches into the performance is stunning.
She plays traditional ‘kaydas,‘ ‘relas’ and ‘tukdas’ from various gharanas and composers, shifting from one to the other effortlessly and concluding each with a riveting flourish. An age-old ‘gat’ (composition) by Ustad Abid Hussain Khan of the Lucknow gharana is performed with maturity far beyond her years.
Siva uses a motley of varied bols, expanding the canvas of her chakardars with an exciting array of improvisations each time. With an intuitive support, Sandip Mishra plays a pleasing ‘lehra’, filling each space with the heart-wrenching sound of his sarangi. Mishra is a 7th generation sarangi player who has learned from his father and guru, Gopal Mishra, in the Benares style.
Siva gives a brilliant and fluid performance. Her dexterity marks far above anyone of her generation and her extraordinary control over speed and execution is one-of-a-kind. Each moment of her recital is sparked with intensity and remarkable focus which pulls her listeners into her music and takes them through an immersive experience.
Rimpa Shiv (Tabla, Farukhabad gharana)
Sandeep Mishra (sarangi)
Tabla Solo in Teentaal (16 beats)