As usual in India, Aneesh Pradhan began learning music at an early age. His instrument, the tabla, is the drum most commonly used in classical North Indian or Hindustani music.
Normally two are played at the same time, the smaller one (dayan) being of wood, and the bigger one (bayan) of copper or brass. Their origins lie in Arabian music which, especially during the mogul period, had a great influence on North Indian music. Over centuries the technique of playing has become more complex and differentiated. The smaller drum is played with the ring, middle and forefingers of the right hand and the bigger one with plucking-movements of the forefinger and middle finger of the left hand. The pitch can be varied by pressing the ball of the hand on the goatskin membrane.
Aneesh Pradhan´s talent was recognised and furthered by Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, one of the great tabla players of the 20th century. He is now said to be outstanding as both a soloist and a sensitive accompanist. His taste for experimentation brings him to examine and cross the borders of tradition, as in his vocal collage-composition "Samagam-Nainan Laagi", in which he tries to blend notions from modern Western music with Indian ragas. He has also taken part in many cross-cultural experiments, like with the Asian Fantasy Orchestra in Japan in 1998 and 2000.
Concert tours have taken him round the world to Europe, the USA, Japan, South Africa and South-East Asia. He has played at the Melbourne Festival and at the World of Music Festival in Brisbane, has taught at the University of New England in Australia and gained a doctorate in musicology at the University of Mumbai with a treatise about the role of singers of classical Indian music in Bombay in the late 19th century. In 1999 he received the coveted Aditya Birla Kalakiran Award, and the national Indian radio and television network has put him into the highest category.
"I am firmly convinced that ´riyaaz´ or practice, continuous study and introspection are the vital ingredients for musical creativity. I have always tried - and shall carry on trying - to go beyond the limits of the tabla and rhythm, and to move in the field of ensemble-music and composition. To this path I am profoundly committed", said Pradhan in an interview.
Author: Gabriele Stiller-Kern
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
New Perspectives from India
(19 September 03 - 16 November 03)