The UAlbany Performing Arts Center, operating under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences and in conjunction the Offices of International Education and Multicultural Student Success, is pleased to present Talavya on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 7:30pm.  This globe-trotting percussion ensemble brings tabla, the Indian hand-drum, to center stage distilling its age-old spirit and practice into a high-energy, highly accessible concert. Rushi Vakil, Kaumil Shah, Sahil Patel and Rahul Shrimali will perform works composed by Indian music maestro Pandit Divyang Vakil.

The tabla is considered the essential Indian classical instrument and has traditionally played on the sidelines supporting other performers. It has become a familiar sound in the West thanks to lightning fast masters like Zakir Hussain and innovators like Talvin Singh. Talavya brings a dynamism to the art of the tabla, infusing it with the power of rock drumming while respecting the ethos and tradition of the classical art form.

“Our goal is to present Indian classical music in a contemporary language that can be enjoyed by more people, explains Rushhi Vakil, the leader of the group.  “The language of tabla is really graceful, full of different tempos, energies and emotions.  All the shades of music can be found in it.”

Talavya is the brainchild of Pandit Divyang Vakil, a table maestro and master teacher who gave up a successful performance career to dedicate himself to composing music and guiding students. The son of a philosopher and a Montessori-influenced teacher, he began playing tabla at three and, in an unusual digression from the norm, he studied with masters from three different gharana or lineages. This non-traditional path of training has helped him shape his own direction and enabled a rather unorthodox approach to his tradition and teaching.
Though tabla ensembles are a relatively new development, Talavya applies the same rigor to their performance as they would to a solo piece, insisting on split-second perfection and pitch-perfect tuning of their instruments.  The accompanying harmonium and their honed rhythmic sense keeps their playing grounded in the cycle of beats their forbearers played in for millennia. 

Talavya has become an ambassador for Indian percussion.  The group has been infusing their sound with artists from all backgrounds and performing with famed percussionist Mickey Hart, Balkan gypsy music band Fishtank Ensemble, blues singer Shakura S’Aida and Malian singer Sidi Toure. 

Tickets for the performance are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff and $10 for students.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.