I had a wonderful trip to Calcutta over December 2015. Sitar player David Balaban and I travelled there together for a two week stay. It was an extremely successful trip. I was able to spend time with Pt Abhijit Banerjee at his home getting really good instruction in tabla. It was also extremely wonderful to finally meet him in person, as up to now I have only seen him “online”.
A key learning from the trip for me was the importance of good sound production in tabla, and how difficult it is to do this really well. There are many small tips and tricks, many of which are centred on the bayan (bass drum) to produce a fuller and more pleasing sound.
One thing I really enjoy (and miss) is the wonderful experience of sitting and learning in front of the guru. Many small interactions and chats take place which are not possible in the online medium.
I really look forward to the next opportunity to visit Abhijit Banerjee in person, in Calcutta or elsewhere.
Some photos from the trip: