‘A good tabla player must learn its correct technique to be successful’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Nov 2017 09:32:04


By Nandu Andhare,

“I believe in perfection of technique and hard work. There are many good tabla players but connoisseurs will be able to appreciate their performance if they display their art with correct technique,” said Princess of Tabla Rimpa Siva, who is in the city to participate in a Tabla workshop being organised in the next three days.

Rimpa is like any other girl next door. No airs, down to earth simple like her illustrious father Pt Swapan Siva, thoroughly groomed in the Farukhabad Gharana of Pt Swapan Siva’s Guru Ustad Karamutullah Khan, who taught Pt Swapan for twenty years.
Asked about her style of playing the tabla, and Rimpa breaks into a coyish smile with innocence writ large all over her charming face. “I don’t have any style as such. All I try to do is improvise.

My father has been telling me all the time that I should not copy him and his style, but try to bring in my own innovations and improve technique. His Guru also told him the same thing. When I perform in concerts in front of a large audience, I am fully aware that the gathering comprises of knowledgable Tabla players and Gurus and also Music lovers who don’t understand the technical details. So I plan my performance in a way that ropes them all in a spell. I ensure that my beginning and ending leaves them spellbound. There in lie innovations and technique” she explains.

Says Pt Swapan Siva “My personal feeling is that Sadhana is most important. First is Sadhana and the second most important factor is God’s blessing. Cricket is being played by many, but there is only one Saurav Ganguly and one Tendulkar,” he remarks.

Asked how is it that his only child took to playing the tabla” Says Swapan, “I actually wanted her to learn Vocal music or go for learning the sitar, looking at her delicate fingers. But from the age of five, I found that she use to sit quietly near me and observe my students learning to play tabla. A stage came when the very ‘Bol’ I wanted my students to perfect, were presented by her on tabla and I was impressed. I said never mind. So what if she was a girl, let her learn tabla and here she is today.

Pt Swapan Siva runs a Bandish Tabla Academy in Kolkata, where his daughter Rimpa Siva also learns and occasionally teaches. He insists on his students playing traditional Farukhabad style of tabla but also feels that they improvise on their own. I teach my daughter ‘Tukdas, bandishes’ of other legendary Tabla Ustads and Pandits to develop variety in her reportaire. My Guru Karmutullah Khan and his father Majid Khan had distinctly different styles.” Rimpa was asked about her future plans and for once, her face bore sober expressions. Said Rimpa, “I dont dream of the future, because if the dream does not materialise, I will be the most unhappy person.

So I let things happen as they come. I feel a lot needs to be done.” Speaking about the forthcoming workshop, Rimpa was forthwith in her statement when she said, “I will be dealing mostly with technical issues, on how to improve with practice, style of Riyaz, Grammar, specially for persons who are office going or business men who do not get time to put in long ‘Riyaz’. I will also address them on the need to have a good guru, the fine fingering technique. I will pour my heart out to make them understand what I mean to tell and teach, but it is upto the student to take interest and persue it. My intention is also to spread tabla teaching with thrust on technique in various parts of India by opening branches of my Academy in the future.”

Rimpa Siva is a girl possessed when she plays the tabla. Her superfine dribble that may put to shade the burst of an AK- 47, her mannerisms when rattling the ‘Bol’ and then vigorously getting into the act is a sight to behold. There are flashes of Ustad Zakir Hussain, that one may visualise, but absolutely no comparison. This is a rare opportunity for Nagpurians to enjoy a grand display of fireworks post Diwali, specially on the last day when hather and daughter will have a jugalbandi on Tabla.