TAALYOGI ASHRAM GURUKUL :: TAAL YATRA :: Vocal Accompaniment for Tabla Solo :: Workshops / Teaching

About Taalyogi Aashram Gurukul

Taalyogi Pt. Suresh Talwalkar is known all over the world for his phenomenal contribution to the field of Indian Classical music. He is one of the very few maestros who have successfully bridged the gap between centuries old Guru Shishya Parampara and the contemporary music pedagogy.

He believes that “Guru Shishya Parampara” is the soul of Hindustani classical music, and as a Guru, his teaching abilities and expertise is unmatched. Many of the young Tabla players in the current generation are Sureshji’s disciples, and have received ttaining from him. Under his guidance, they have attained proficiency not only in solo Tabla or Pakhawaj playing, but also in accompaniment for vocal and instrumental music as well as Kathak dance.

Sureshji has been dedicatedly imparting his knowledge through his entire life. His home, for almost four decades, has always been full of his disciples, each one of them at various stages through their learning curve. Though the number has constantly been on the rise, Sureshji has not compromised on the personal attention to each one, which is the backbone of the Guru-Shishya Parampara. This is the way to produce performing artists…

There has been a constant flow of dedicated students from all parts of the world, who urge Sureshji to take them under his wings and shape up their careers. Hence, the need for a separate and independent teaching space had been imminent for quite some time.

In 2011, Dr. Shriniwas Rao, Sureshji’s disciple who is settled down in U.K., handed over his bungalow in Pune to Sureshji with the sole aim of starting a Gurukul, a place where willing and deserving students can stay and practise Tabla round the clock.

The bungalow, now aptly named as ‘Taalyogi Aashram’ is located on Sinhagad Road, a prime locality in Pune; still away from the hustle bustle of city life. The ground floor has a huge hall where Sureshji imparts training to his disciples in long sessions every morning and evening. His disciples come in a wide array, ranging from Tabla and Pakhawaj players to Kathak dancers, vocalists, instrumentalists and even western drummers. The upper floor is students’ quarters with accommodation for about 30 students. Presently, about 25 students from various places stay in the ‘Taalyogi Aashram’.


Concept, Design and Direction: - Pt.Suresh Talwalkar

Taal Yatra is an innovative Indian classical ensemble lead by the great tabla maestro and music teacher Pandit Suresh Talwalkar.
This ensemble presents traditional and Pandit Suresh Talwalkars Indian classical compositions and symbolises the perfect synergie of several streams of Indian music:
Dance, Vocal, Instrumental and Tabla solo music.
This unique musical blending has great response from connoisseurs ( performing at RhythmFestivals ), as well as general audience.
Performing Indian classical music in its pure form, this ensemble has a very modern and fresh approach, by integrating the sounds of drumset and keyboards.

Theorists have always maintained the universality of world music. Tracing the history of music one finds that the impulse for the expression of innate feelings has been the prime intent behind every musical expression. This innate urge for expression has given rise to diverse musical traditions over centuries of development of various civilizations.

As far as India is concerned, all the three faculties of music – namely vocal music, instrumental music and dance – have evolved into various schools. Each of these schools has nurtured its tradition with fierce pride and self-respect. Owing to scientific development, as the interaction between artists from various schools increased, a free flow of thoughts became possible and a musical give and take between the artists began. As a result, breaking the water-tight compartments of their respective schools, artists gained the freedom to choose and to imbibe consciously what they liked and thought was best of the other traditions. As the next step of this revolution came the satellite T.V. bringing the myriad world music traditions literally to our doorstep, thereby materializing the ancient Vedic concept of “One World”. Just as these new means gave birth to cultural hybrids in our day-to-day life, a new trend of “Fusion Music” came into being in the world of music. The instinctive urge of a musician to grasp the essence of various traditions, to explore their semblances and diversities and to establish a dialogue between them contains the seed of “Fusion Music”. Instantly popularised by various music channels, this new form of music has so far seen experiments like Indian vocal music to the accompaniment of western orchestra, an ensemble of Indian and western orchestras, modern western dance to the accompaniment of Indian film music, etc.

Most of the times such experiments remain limited to a very superficial level. A lack of regulatory principles that should be observed in fusing two completely developed styles is obvious in majority of such experiments that are being carried out today. These cannot be rated as more than a mere mixture of 2-3 or more musical elements or music sources. The objective of these experiments seems merely to “present diverse music forms on one platform" than to “bring out the oneness in them”.

The motive behind detailing this scenario is to highlight the importance of the work of a scholarly and visionary musician like Pt.Suresh Talwalkar on such a background and to bring forth its uniqueness.

His constant contemplation, reflection, meditation and evaluation of Rhythm are revealed in his experiment “TAAL YATRA – AN ODYSSEY INTO RHYTHM.
It is an enthralling audio-visual experience created by interweaving the musical elements of the Tabla, the Western Drums, Kathak dance, North Indian Vocal Music, Sitar and Flute - an experiment to reveal the basic “Oneness” of diver musical instruments and performing arts. The production of this piece of “Fusion Music” is the natural culmination of Sureshji’s profound knowledge and unceasing contemplation of Rhythm.

Profound understanding of various musical media, thorough consideration of the scope and limitations of each one of them and the evaluation of one medium from the point of view of other media are the essence of Sureshji’s musical asceticism and innovation. Born out of such an ideology AN ODYSSEY INTO RHYTHM upholds the purity of tradition of each of the participating elements, yet blending them beautifully to enhance and strengthen one another. And that is why in spite of the accompaniment of the Western Drums, the classical stylization of the Tabla has been preserved. The vocal compositions have been rendered without tampering with the purity of the ragas in which they are composed or with the aesthetics of the compositions. Indian Rhythm System has been assimilated with the Western Drums without altering their technique. An effort to concretize the abstract forms created by instrumental music is made through Kathak. Hence, a new dimension of the beauty of colours, lines, space, forms and compositions enhances the audio-visual effect of the production.

The Tabla in AN ODYSSEY INTO RHYTHM is rendered by Pt.Suresh Talwalkar himself, along with his son and disciple Shri. Satyajeet Talwalkar and his disciples Shri. Vijay Ghate, Shri. Ramdas Palsule and Shri. Charudatta Phadke. Shri.Mukul Dongare and S.Bernhard from Austria accompany on the Western drums while the Kathak aspect has been finely and proficiently looked after by Smt. Shama Bhate and her disciples Kaveri Agashe, Manasi Tapikar and others. On the vocals are Shri. Shounak Abhisheki and Shri. Sameer Dubale – the disciple duo of Lt. Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki. Also a part of the ensemble are Shri. Sandeep Kulkarni on the Flute, Shri. Ajay Jogalekar on the harmonium, Shri, Ravindra Chari on the Sitar and Shri. Rajendra Joshi for Padhant (recitation).

Keeping Rhythm and its expression the prime focus of this experiment, the endeavour is to render classical music I a novel, yet its purest form, to create a mesmerizing effect that even a layperson will be able to appreciate.



coming soon....



The art of playing tabla Solo has developed into a very popular way of expressing the taal System in Indian Art Music. Traditionally, tabla solo is  played with the accompaniment of a saarangi, or a harmonium. These musical instruments play a melodic design, or a tune which depicts the aawartan of the taal, the cycle of rhythm.

Sureshji brought a new and innovative idea in playing the tabla solo. He thought of using the Vocal accompaniment for the tabla solo instead of only harmonium or saarangi.

The Vocal accompaniment comes with a two fold objective.
Firstly, he believes that when a singer sings, the laya is maintained on the tabla by providing the appropriate theka of the aawartan of the taal. Similarly when a tabla solo is played, a vocalist, through a Vocal bandish should provide the stable musical theka and thus add a melodic dimension to the presentation of a taal!

Secondly, the words used in a Vocal Composition have a very important role to play. These words help the common listener to identify the point of Sama and also follow the Sama in every aawartan. In a sense the use of Vocal Accompaniment makes the tabla Solo more user-friendly!!

The effort also adds to possibility of giving the audience a complete and composite musical experience!



coming soon...