Laya Taal Saadhna on Saturday February 17


HOUSTON: On Saturday February 17, the Indian Music Society of Houston and students of Tabla Guru Pandit Shantilal Shah will present what has come to become an eagerly anticipated annual event – Laya Taal Saadhna. This year’s event bears special significance as we celebrate Pt. Shah’s 15 years in Houston.  Since the day he moved to our city in 2003, he has dedicated himself to furthering the timeless art of the Tabla and enriching the musical understanding of our community.  

While the previous Laya Taal Saadhna programs have focused exclusively on showcasing the skills of the students in the form of Tabla ensembles, this year’s performance takes it up a notch by showcasing the various Dimensions of Tabla – as an accompaniment to vocal, instrumental and dance performances too.  

The first part of the program – the “Tabla Ensemble” – scheduled from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, will take the audience on a rhythmic journey through the sounds of Tabla.  Nearly 100 students of Pt. Shantilal Shah will present ensembles of powerful compositions and complex patterns in various rhythmic cycles that are a hallmark of this percussion instrument.

The second part of the program – “Dimensions of Tabla” – scheduled from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM will feature senior student performers, holding the audience captive with their outstanding skills, accompanying other equally skilled artistes in Hindustani Vocal, Carnatic Violin and Kathak Dance as well as performing a Tabla Solo, highlighting the various facets and capabilities of this instrument.  Free to the public, all music lovers and those interested in Tabla are cordially invited to attend.

Pt. Shah – a Tabla maestro, is very well known in the Hindustani Classical Music community both in the United States as well as in India.  He is both a performing artist as well as an outstanding teacher.  Hailing from Banaras, his initial taalim was from Pt. Mahadev Prasad Misra.  He later moved to Pune to become a disciple of the legendary Taal Yogi, Pt. Suresh Talwalkar. A popular accompanist, he has graced the stage with many of the top Hindustani Classical musicians, including Pandit Jasraj, Smt. Aarti Ankalikar, Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, and Pts. Rajan and Sajan Misra.  

In December 2017, he performed with legendary vocalists Pts. Rajan and Sajan Misra at the Sawai Gandharva festival in Pune – a multi-day music festival featuring the cream of the classical musicians of India, which draws in excess of 10,000 audience members including highly respected artistes who are in attendance, every day.  His repertoire extends to the field of Western Classical music too.

 In 2014, he performed with the Houston Grand Opera in their production “River of Light”, which received tremendous accolades across Houston.  Pt. Shah will be part of the upcoming worldwide musical tour titled “Bhairav Se Bharavi Tak”, wherein he will be performing with maestros Pt. Rajan and Sajan Misra at various cities in the US, Canada and possibly South America too.

Taking place at the beautiful 450-seat UC Theater in the University of Houston main campus, Laya Taal Saadhna is sure to be a memorable event for all music lovers – beginners to stalwarts.

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