Surdarshan Chana’s tabla solo is sublime and shows varied textures and moods – a reflection of the artist’s years of exposure to authentic Punjab and Benares baaj and his experience as a cross-over artist performing with various genres. But despite the occasional deviation in his career from tradition, Chana comes across with unassuming confidence and delivers extraordinary moments of perfection in this solo concert.
The prelude to the recital begins with beautiful strains of Raag Patdeep on the harmonium by Rajveer Singh and the sarangi by Sandeep Mishra. Chana plays Teental, beginning with a ‘peshkar’ - an introductory piece from the Punjab school of tabla that is usually begins any tabla solo concert.
He proceeds with a number of his spontaneous creations, playing a strong hand at crisp bols, adding drama and groove sufficiently to the compositions. Chana adds in some short compositions from the repertoires of his gurus - Baba Nihal Singh Ji and Sukhwinder Singh ‘Pinky’ - playing them with elan and never with a moment of hesitation. The Pakhawaj-based framework in some of the compositions are played with grace and clarity.
‘Banapleti’, a composition with three phrases occurring in continuous tandem is performed with sophistry. Chana explains that the banapleti is a hunting weapon which was used during the mediaeval times in India. It has three ball-bearings attached to it and in a brilliant recitation of the composition itself, he explains the metaphor of the name behind the composition.
Chana offers another dimension to his performance by introducing a spiritual composition – a ‘Shiv Padhan’ which literally translates to recitation for Lord Shiva. Apart from the tabla compositions which are based on pure mathematics and aesthetic beauty, compositions like this one are based on spirituality.
Singh (harmonium) and Mishra (sarangi) provide a heart-warming support with soulful strains as accompanists, taking this tabla solo to new heights.
Chana was part of the UK-based artists who were presented at the Darbar festival 2007.
Surdarshan Chana (Benares and Punjab gharana)
Sandeep Mishra (sarangi)
Rajveer Singh (harmonium)
Ranjana Ghatak & Debipriya Das (tanpuras)
Teental 16 beats cycle