Laya Taal Saadhna 2020

February 19, 2020

Laya Taal Saadhna 2020

On February 9th, 2020 the Indian Music Society of Houston presented Laya Taal Saadhna, the biennial recital by the students of IMS Tabla School Guru, Pt. Shantilal Shah. The program showcased the beautiful art form of percussion ensembles on the Tabla by students whose ages range from 6 to 60 plus! The students performed in groups ranging from beginners to advanced with pieces in Taals that range from Teentaal to Jhaptaal.

Watch it Again

Group Sum

Watch as this young group performs a kaida with paltas and tihaee. Supporting them is Guru Pt. Shantilal Shah with Sri. Mandar Phadke on harmonium.

Group Taal

The group performs performs two pieces, one kaida and one rela. Leading this group is senior student Anuraag Shah with Sri. Mandar Phadke on harmonium. 

Group Anagat

The group performs a kaida rela with paltas and tihaee. Supporting them is Guru Pt. Shantilal Shah with Sri. Mandar Phadke on harmonium.

Group Rela

The group performs a kaida with paltas and tihaee. Supporting them is Guru Pt. Shantilal Shah with Sri. Mandar Phadke on harmonium.

Group Naad

The group performs a full Tabla solo including peshkar, kaida, rela and bandishes with padhant. Accompanying on harmonium is Sri. Mandar Phadke.

Pt. Shantilal Shah is honored by Dr. Virendra Mathur.
In the Press

Audience Reactions

Pt. Shantilal Shah’s Students Wow Audience During “Laya Taal Saadhna”

By Sunil Pangarkar

Under the direction of Pandit Shantilal Shah, the Indian Music Society of Houston showcased the talent, abilities and progress of their tabla students in the Stafford Civic center on February 9th. The concert had the hallmarks of a truly great event, and the audience was not left disappointed. Each performance was unique and featured the staples of Pt. Shah’s teaching – highly synchronized playing of complex rhythmic patterns. Having attended 8 of the 9 Laya Taal Sadhana (LTS) programs so far, none of this came as a surprise to me.

IMS president Shri Govind Shetty welcomed the audience and introduced the board members of IMS. Among the audience were music Gurus and key supporters of classical music. Mr. BN Murali managed sound arrangement marvelously. Longtime supporters and music connoisseurs Dr. Virendra and Mrs Nalini Mathur closed the program with a heartfelt speech about the performance.

Before the performances started, Smt. Aparna Shah made a soulful invocation to Lord Krishna. Shri Mandar Phadke, who supported on Harmonium, and Pt. Shantilal Shah, came on to the stage to begin the program. Mandar-ji’s role is especially worth mentioning because in a concert like this he plays an essential role in keeping the rhythm or Laya. Providing the melody for each ensemble, he did a great job with a very difficult task!

Musically speaking, the performances were all very impressive in their own way. The beginner students, with as many as 11 performing at once, played precisely in rhythm. Each of the groups recited one of their more complicated paltas for the audience, receiving applause and admiration. In the second half, senior students took the event to a new level. Some highlights include transitions between Dugun, Tigun, and Char-gun, and two beautiful compositions in the 10 beat cycle – Jhaptaal.

Each LTS concert has new students, a similar format but different musical matter. Each person is going through his/her own journey and for the student, it is a new experience that builds his/her abilities, confidence and desire to take it to new levels. I was reminded of what Pt. Suresh Talwalkar has famously said, that a Guru’s job is to give “Urja” (Energy) to the Shishya.

While I was observing the participants, I could not but imagine how difficult that task is – particularly in the USA. Before the self-sustaining drive (which is the implicit meaning of Urja) is achieved, it is the Guru’s job to develop the Shishya’s interest, ability, stamina and finally musicality, to make the activity Urja-worthy.

I have seen Shantilal-ji use so many techniques to achieve that result in young kids, new shishyas, and older shishyas. His energy to teach has remained undiminished despite the effort needed to achieve this remarkable level of performance. As Dr Mathur suggested, he is keeping the cultural lamp burning bright in Houston, so much so that in this Global Energy city, I would say that he is a true Energy – Guru!