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Saraswati

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #1 
Greetings everyone,

I hope that you are all doing well.

Currently I'm having difficulty finding a stable teacher that I can go to. So in the mean time, I am hoping someone can help me out.

I am looking to build a kirtan repitore and am trying to figure out where to start. Can anyone lend some advice on what I should do? Shall I just start with the basic taals? Or are there some basic bols that I should be aware of?

Any information would be of great appreciation.

Best,
Sara
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scodoha

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Posts: 302
Reply with quote  #2 
I think you may be putting the cart before the horse. Learning the tabla will easily give you the skills to serve kirtanam. You already seem to have the goal before the means. Focus on the tabla not the kirtan if you mean to learn tabla otherwise it will be counterfeit.
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tablaguy

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Reply with quote  #3 
Dear Sara:

If you mean Kirtan in the Bengali sense of the word, what I meant by that is Bengali devotional songs sung (called Kirtan) in the temple, then learning Tabla is not the way to go. Learning Khol, also known as Sri-Khol, would be the way to go. Because Kirtans are played NOT with Tabla but with Khol in Bengal. And Khol uses completely different set of syllables although rhythm patterns may be similar to tabla. It's application and treatment of "bols" are also very different than tabla. Just like it is different in Pakhawaj from the Tabla.

However, North Indian Kirtans are played with tabla. If that's what you are enquiring then I would have to agree with Schoda.

TG
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balbirh

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Reply with quote  #4 
Sara,
Sikh Kirtan is normally accompanied on the tabla,
Hindu Kirtan is normally accompanied in the dholak.
Although any taal can be used, the most popular to get
the crowd into a happy clappy mood is kherawa.
Any variation of
Dha ge na tee
na ge dhin na
Will work
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tablaguy

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Reply with quote  #5 
I am not sure what Balbirth meant by Hindu kirtan? If the Hindu Kirtans are from the eastern part of India they aren't played with Tabla, I can assure you of that. They are played with Sri-khol. But if its from North India they can be played with Dholak or tabla. I am also not sure if keherwa theka is applicable for all Kirtans. Some can be in dadra or rupak like rhythms also...just like it can be in north Indian kirtans. TG
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balbirh

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Reply with quote  #6 
Tablaguy,
I was just generalising.
By Sikh Kirtan i meant Shabads
By Hindu Kirtan i meant Bhajans

Shabads on the whole tend to use more classical taals like 6, 7, 10, 12, and 16 beats
than Bhajans , again this is generalising.

I agree Hindu Kirtans from the eastern part of India they aren't played with Tabla,
but a khol is a variation of a dholak.

I agree that keherwa theka is not applicable for all Kirtans, that is why i wrote
Although any taal can be used, the most popular to get
the crowd into a happy clappy mood is kherawa

It all depends on what type of atmosphere the Raggis or Bhajan mandly want to create.
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tablaguy

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Reply with quote  #7 
Balbirth:

Your point is well taken. I wasn't sure from your writing whether you were generalizing or not.

But I do disagree with you on the fact when you said Khol is a variation of dholak. It is NOT. Just like Pakhawaj is NOT a variation of Mridangam although they look somewhat similar in layman's terms. They belong to two totally different family/music system. Secondly, Dholak is used mostly as a folk instrument. It may be used in the context of Bhajans but dholak predominantly is used in India as folk instrument. This is what is taught at the BHU and other universities in India. Here is what Wikipedia states: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dholak

Here is what Chandrakantha site says: http://chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/dholak.html

On the contrary, Sri khol or Khol: comes from a classically trained school called Khol dhari of Bengal which is where it originated during or prior to the Bhakti movement. Bengali Kirtans has a very rich tradition which goes back thousands of years. People from this tradition had to take Khol lessons (just like we do in Tabla...and the gurukul system) and became pandits and ustads by their own right in this field. The syllable structure/bols of khol in different than Tabla or Pakhawaj. Therefore, it represents a separate family of instruments and/or ghrana. This gharana is still very vibrant despite the north indian influence of percussive elements to the east. As matter of fact, I have heard/seen Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Akram Khan participated an entire lecture series at the Sangeet research Academy in Calcutta on hand percussion where the Kholdhari(s) Pandits were invited to participate. This definitely was a revealation for a lot of people.

By the way, khol thats played at ISKON temples (by Hare Krishna people or Sadhus) are made of wood, and they make the similar sound and are a lot sturdier than the real Khol (which is made of clay).


TG
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scodoha

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Posts: 302
Reply with quote  #8 
A wealth of information that would not have surfaced if we had stayed on subject. However I would guess that the original question pertained to 'western' kirtan which seems to be whatever you make it, including the use of djembe, conga and cajon. A guitar is often the instrument of choice.
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balbirh

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Posts: 31
Reply with quote  #9 
tablaguy,
Thank you for explaining the differences between Dholak and Khol.
I am no expert but a keen beginner and i thank you for your resposes.
I did investigate and found an example on youtube regarding the khol


As say there is a great difference in playing method between the dholak
and khol.

Like scodoha writes below,
A wealth of information that would not have surfaced if we had stayed on subject
This is obviously true and as a educational source this forum as a lot offer.
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MattTabla

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Posts: 78
Reply with quote  #10 
Actually, Khol and Bangla or Gaudiya kirtan is not a "gharana", but a entirely different genre. There are four or five primary Bangla kirtan gharanas, namely, Garanhati, Manoharshahi, Jharkhandi, Mandarani, and Reneti. The first two are fully classical, while the last three are semi.

And for the record, I don't know of any ISKCON kirtaniyas who use a "wood" khol. They use many different kinds. Most serious ISKCON kirtaniyas will play a clay khol. Those who are more into the ritual and less in to the art of the music will many times play fiberglass or brass. There are also copper khols. And just a clarification: you do not hear classical kirtan in ISKCON. It's more folk, pop, and light classical at best. Though, there are some ISKCON members who are now pursuing the study of classical kirtan.

-Madan
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tablaguy

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #11 
>Khol and Bangla or Gaudiya kirtan is not a "gharana", but a entirely different genre. There >are four or five primary Bangla kirtan gharanas, namely, Garanhati, Manoharshahi, >Jharkhandi, Mandarani, and Reneti. The first two are fully classical, while the last three are >semi.

Madan:
I am not really talking about Gauriya Kirtan. Like I said before Kirtan was born during Bhakti movement. During the fifteenth century this Vadya (instrument) was popularized and came to its classical form. This was way before Gaudiya Kirtan. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called it bhakti vadya (Sri khol).
Please read more on this here: http://books.google.com/books?id=oP4vH-4oSEcC&pg=RA1-PA89&lpg=RA1-PA89&dq=Sri+khol&source=bl&ots=PLTt1P2yp7&sig=J5DvyX_5PdHag2VZqsPgpmtTDTM&hl=en&ei=wpPLSrf5Co2KMt-9mcQD&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6#v=onepage&q=Sri%20khol&f=false

Secondly, in Shantiniketan Garanhati and Manoharshahi are considered one gharana. Although, pandits have established there were two separate lines.

Madan wrote:
>And for the record, I don't know of any ISKCON kirtaniyas who use a "wood" khol. They use >many different kinds. Most serious ISKCON kirtaniyas will play a clay khol. Those who are >more into the ritual and less in to the art of the music will many times play fiberglass or >brass. There are also copper khols. And just a clarification: you do not hear classical kirtan >in ISKCON. It's more folk, pop, and light classical at best. Though, there are some ISKCON >members who are now pursuing the study of classical kirtan.

I would highly suggest you to visit Mayapur (ISKON HQ) in Nadia district. You'll find out how wrong you are. The khol shown in Balbirth's youtube video is an Wooden Khol. As a practicing musician, I play both. Traditional classical Khol players play clay. But for travelling purposes, I prefer Wood over clay. In early seventies ISKON engineers came up with a design of fiber glass khol which I played. Its very nice and got a pretty stable resonating sound. But initially, purists hated it. I guess they have accepted it now. About classical Kirtanias with clay and wood khol...in Mayapur, they invite classical Kirtanias to perform during Janmastami and Ratha Yatra. During Astottar Sataanam in Janmastami these Kirtanias at Mayapur will tell/show you what classical Kirtan is all about. Actually, this is the only forum where its on a permanent display. No where else its so vibrant anymore.

Shantiniketan is another place where classical Kirtan is taught along with the percussive elements. I would highly recommend everyone to visit there.
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MattTabla

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Posts: 78
Reply with quote  #12 
Hi Tablaguy,

Apologies if I came off combative -- had no intentions too -- was in a rush.

I think were talking semantics here. What I mean by "Gaudiya Kirtan" is the kirtan of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas or Chaitanya Vaishnavas. Gaudiya, as I'm sure you know, simply means the North East region (i.e., Bengal, Orrisa, Assam, etc.). I think we are talking about the same thing. Thanks for the link to the google book!

I've actually studied Khol in Mayapur/Navadwip. I've been to many ISKCON temples all over the world and have never seen a wood khol. I'm not saying they don't exist, rather, they aren't common in ISKCON temples. I know the Manipuri mridanga or khol (pung) is made of wood. But, you very rarely see ISKCON devotees playing a pung.
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tablaguy

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #13 
No Problems at all Matt,

I understood what you meant now (with ref to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Bhakti movement).

Anyway, I have been going to Mayapur since it opened in the seventies. Those days there were nothing but wooden khols which you are calling pung now. I am guessing they don't use that anymore. One of the Sanyasis there used to play it very well during the Utsav, as he has been groomed in Shantiniketan and later took Sanyas and joined Prabhupad's movement. This gentleman, I forgetting his name now, used to teach there as well. All they were using at that time was Wooden Khol. Nowadays -- you could be absolutely right -- everything has changed.

Really nice to know you all here.

This is really a very good forum...very informative indeed.
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