Taking the tabla player out of his comfort zone.

I will never forget the first time Ashok approached me for his fascinating project, ‘Methods for Misunderstanding’. He said to me:

“Rishii are you prepared to be uncomfortable?”

I hesitantly replied ‘yes’. In a nutshell, the methods project has made me view my tabla in a new way. I have been trained in Indian Classical music, and I am used to accompanying live music and dance. The thought of now taking instructions from a robotic voice that converts twitter feeds into tabla notation is something very unknown. This is the first time I am involving myself in a project that uses a lot of technology. It is completely outside of my comfort zone!

However, during this process I have spent a lot of time with Ashok, Sean and Yuyu. Each time we meet, we discover something new in our individual artistic practice. Also, my overall understanding of Ashok’s vision has increased. I am simply amazed with the amount of knowledge Ashok and Sean have in relation to digital media and technology. I am literally a dummy when it comes to technology, but through this project I am embracing it more.

The thought of using touch sensors on my tabla that trigger lights each time I play is really exciting. This project has already opened my thinking to how technology can effectively be used with Indian instruments.

Each of us in this process are part of a system and are ‘controlled’ by external features. For myself it is the robotic voice telling me which specific notes to play. Viewing tabla notation as data and converting it into twitter feeds is mind boggling.

Working with martial artist and ballet dancer, Yuyu Rau has been an absolute joy. There are moments throughout the piece where we get to collaborate. These are the parts we really look forward to because we get to be free of all the external stimuli which is driving the performance.

I am really excited to seeing it all come together and discovering more about the possibilities my instrument can create.

 

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