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At 31 years of age he is already an ‘ustaad’ !!!

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Indian music is like Indian food: totally mis-understood and completely undigested.

Indian music is not all ‘Bollywood masala’ and Indian food is not all ‘curry in a hurry’!!!

We’ve heard enough (well, almost, I would say as one can never say/hear enough about it!) about the ‘curry in a hurry’ stuff so let us play a different tune (pun totally intended) today.

We’re talking Indian music.

But I want to focus particularly on an instrument called tabla, a percussion instrument extensively used in Indian classical music.

Tabla is derived from the Persian word tabl which means drums.

So, how does a percussion instrument fit into cooking?

Well, as a part of our 16th birthday celebrations we had the privilege of hosting a baithak, or private concert, of a percussion artist who is possibly one of the youngest to be called an ustaad!!

This man is a disciple of the great ustaad Allah Rakha Khan, and his son ustaad amjad Ali Khan, who are pioneers of the Punjab Gharana who are, well, I’d love to go on but I can’t because, unfortunately, I am completely ignorant of this instrument and music in general.

However, this doesn’t prevent me from appreciating the instrument or the way it’s played and I certainly can recognize the pleasant from the ear-splitting!

So, when my friend, Uday, recommended that I hear Aditya Kalyanpur play it was a great opportunity for us at nilgiri’s to have him play in front of about 80 guests. As each guest arrived they were given masala vadai with a mocktail.

Then the music began and it did not disappoint!!

The young master played.

And he played non stop for nearly 2 hours!!

Whilst the music filled up the room, the guests were then served biryani in a box and on and on it went. Amazing!


He played tukras and he played kaydas from the Punjab Gharana, mesmerising the guests with his artistry and mastery that he has picked up from his master ustaad Allah Raakha.

The dessert we served was cardamom and pistachio kulfi, how else to try and mimic the joy of the music with the joy of a kulfi!

It was a privilege to have this young man come and play. It was great to have the food, the atmosphere that this night brought.

I want to have many, many more nights like this where young talents come and create something special at nilgiri’s. So, if you’re an aspiring artist (and we know the many forms this can take, from dance to illustration to music, ancient or modern), let me know!

If we can foster our young artists, if we can show off their skills, then that’s great. I’ll do the cooking and they can do the entertaining!

Anah daata sukhi bhava!

About Ajoy Joshi

i've been a chef for over three decades now! i trained in chennai and started off with the taj hotel group. i've owned nilgiri's indian restaurant in sydney for over 15 years. i'm on a mission to dispel the myth that indian food is no more than a 'curry in a hurry'! come with me as i try and educate. indian food is my passion (alongside cricket!) and i'm enjoying exploring the new social media and as well as having published cookery books i'm now moving into videos. simple and easy to follow that don't go on for hours like some Bollywood movies!

5 responses »

  1. Ajoy M this sounds amazing! When was it? I wish I’d heard about it!
    Sagar

    Reply
    • Hello Sagar,
      Thanks for your email.
      May be you could join our mailing list. This way you will get all the latest ‘happenings’ in Nilgiris and never miss out!!
      Happy cooking!!

      Reply
  2. What an incredible experience this must have been. Thank you for sharing .

    Reply
  3. Love the very idea and the bringing together of culture in this special way. What a jugalbandi. WOW! The tabla maestro must have been maazing, astoo the biryani & kulfi {s}

    Reply

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