It’s been 18 years since percussionist Taufiq Qureshi released his debut album
Rhydhun –

An Odyssey of Rhythm
under the FreeSpirit Entertainment label. Firsts are always of course, special especially since it pushed the boundaries of drumming patterns. The album featured a galaxy of guest musicians like Qureshi’s father Ustad Allarakha, brothers Zakir Hussain and Fazal Qureshi, wife Geetika Varde, vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, violinist L. Shankar and percussionist Nitin Shankar.

The magic of
will be recaptured when Qureshi, Varde and their son Shikhar Naad Qureshi perform this evening. They will be joined by Sridhar Parthasarathy on mridangam, Vijay Prakash and Sandeep Patil on vocals, Aditya Paudwal on keyboards, and Nitin Shankar and Dipesh Verma on percussion. “We have been thinking of doing this for some time,” says Qureshi referring to this evening’s show that revisits the album that began it all. “We will adapt some of the pieces to give them a more contemporary feel, but the flavour of the original compositions will be retained.”

Born in a family of tabla greats, Qureshi was basically trained in that instrument and then in Carnatic rhythm styles. Later, his interest in world music inspired him to take up the Western drum kit, bongos and batajon, and eventually the African djembe. That gave him the idea of adapting the African djembe using patterns of the Punjab gharana of tabla playing. “I was fascinated by the djembe, and got the idea [of adapting patterns] while recording
” says tabla maestro Qureshi. “It took me three or four years to get the thought process in action. The tabla is a double drum and the djembe is a single unit. So I had to work hard on the adaptation.”

Naturally, Qureshi’s son Shikhar Naad took to percussion at an early age. Now at 21, he plays the djembe and drums, and regularly accompanies sitar exponents Niladri Kumar, Ravi Chary and Purbayan Chatterjee. “Rhythm flows in the family, and my parents and uncles have encouraged me a lot,” says Shikhar Naad.

With a long career in music, Qureshi points out his father has always been his biggest inspiration. “He encouraged people to do things differently,” says the musicians. “After all, rhythm is universal. This is something I encourage [students] at my Sion institute to do too though they have to master the basics first.” He tells all his ‘bandhus’, as he addresses his students, to keep an open mind and never copy anybody. According to Qureshi, there has been a huge interest among the young to learn the djembe in the last few years.

The audience this evening can expect favourites off
such as ‘The Tree Of’, ‘The Other Rhythm’, ‘Nand’, ‘Ear To There’, ‘The Rhy In You’, ‘1/2 to 16’ and the Maharastrian lezim-flavoured ‘Jiji Rhy’.

Taufiq Qureshi & Shikhar Naad and others
will perform at The Quarter this evening at 9 p.m., see for details.

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