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Madhu Mahal is a recording of the traditional solo drumming repertoire of the tabla known as tabla lehara. It is comprised of a variety of composed and improvised compositional forms that combine to create a single piece of music known as tabla lehara – the solo drumming repertoire of the tabla. The individual pieces within a tabla lehara performance present different aspect of tabla playing from completely composed compositions to themes that are the basis of extended improvisations. The performance is designed to be listened to as one continuous piece of music.

Tabla players often recite compositions before playing them using the system of tabla bols (lit. tabla words). In this system each note played on the drums has a corresponding syllable. These syllables combine to create words, the words into sentences, sentences to phases and phases into short stories.

The tabla player is accompanied by a sarangi player who plays the lehara, a repeated melody which is based in a raga and is designed to outline the rhythmic structure of the tal (time cycle). The lehara player’s role is to support the tabla player’s mood, maintain the rhythmic cycle and give the listener a point of reference for the tabla player’s compositions and time cycles. Tabla compositions almost always culminate in a tihai, a rhythmic pattern repeated three times, ultimately ending at the 'sam' in the lehara, the first beat. In this way the lehara melody functions as a point of reference for both the tabla player and the audience to hear the relationship between the tabla forms and the underlying rhythmic cycle. This performance is in tintal, a cycle of sixteen beats and is largely drawn from the repertoire the Farukabad Gharana.


released April 1, 2007

Recorded at Shri Ram studios Kolkata, India. June 2006.



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Sam Evans Melbourne, Australia

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