The right beats

Ambika Shaligram
Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Tabla maestro Yogesh Samsi, who will be performing in Pune on 9th August, shares his thoughts on the guru-shishya parampara

Dedication, commitment, surrendering oneself to your guru, having faith in him...these were oft-repeated words when we were in conversation with tabla maestro, Yogesh Samsi.

Samsi and vocalist Devaki Pandit will be performing in the city this evening at Swaraparva programme organised by Taalanubhuti Foundation and ONP Tulip.

Talking about the event, Samsi says, “Taalanubhuti Foundation aims to encourage tabla loving audience and upcoming artists. It also aims to promote and propagate Indian classical music, tabla solo and more intricate details of tabla solo presentations. I will be presenting a solo this evening.”

The foundation also organises various seminars and workshops through which younger artists get a chance to acquaint themselves with senior established artists. When asked about it, Samsi says he won’t be interacting with students at this forum, but will be training upcoming tabla players at Vishwa Shanti Gurukul.

Guru-Shishya bond
Samsi, who is the son of Hindustani classical vocalist, Dinkar Kaikini, taught at Allarakha Institute, Mumbai till late 90s. He also taught his students at his Mumbai home, and now 10 of his pupils are ready for their stage performance.

“From this year, I will be teaching at Vishwa Shanti Gurukul run by Vishwanath Karad. It’s a residential gurukul. I will be training talented tabla players to be future performers,” says he.

In the olden days, the shishya would stay with his guru and there was much more contact and rapport between the two. Samsi admits that this kind of contact may not be possible in today’s world. “But if the guru is committed and the shishya surrenders himself to his guru with utmost dedication, then I think it is possible to get results even today,” he adds.
The tabla maestro, who is a regular at the Bengal Classical Musical Festival, in Bangladesh, will be staying for a week, each month, at the gurukul and intensively train his students in that period. “Their training for the remaining days will be taken over by one of my senior disciples. He will coach the students through whatever I taught. That is how the programme has been designed,” he adds.

Thumb rules
Samsi, who was adopted by his maternal grandfather and hence took on his surname, says that he expects his students to stay away from modern day distractions like electronic gadgets, performing fusion music etc.

“There are certain thumb rules when it comes to training under guru-shishya parampara. One is that the shishya should completely surrender and dedicate himself to the teachings of the guru. S/he should have faith in what is being taught to him/her and in the system that s/he is a part of. Thirdly, s/he must devote ample time to riyaaz or sadhana. The students also need to be very, very patient. They must understand that it takes time to shape themselves into something like an art form. They need to be very focussed to give the right result. And, throughout this journey, they must stay away from electronic gadgets, performances etc,” he elaborates.

Exposure and grounding
Having set the rules, Samsi, however, is open to his students being exposed to different gharanas. But, the tabla maestro from Punjabi gharana, says, “It is extremely important for them to be in the specific system of training for at least seven years. Once they have got their grounding in a particular art form, they can be exposed to different forms. If they are exposed to several styles right at the beginning of their tutelage, then the students find themselves under pressure and are unable to concentrate on one style.”

The artist is of the opinion that before stepping into the world of disciple and rigours, the students should be judged, auditioned to see if they have performing material in them; if they can seriously devote their lives to music or any art form or not. “As teachers, we should also give a frank and fair appraisal to the students — at what level they are and how far they can go. If we don’t do that, then we are misguiding them,” he concludes.

ST Reader Service
Swaraparva, a special musical programme featuring tabla maestro Pt Yogesh Samsi and acclaimed vocalist Devaki Pandit, is being organised by Taalanubhuti Foundation and ONP Tulip on the occasion of death anniversary of Late Dr H N Phadnis.

The programme will take place today (August 9) at 5.30 pm at MES Auditorium, Bal Shikshan School Campus, Mayur Colony, Kothrud.

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