Here is a beautiful small tukra from Ustad Amir Hussain Khan adapted for drums.  I started my musical journey on drums and I sometimes get the itch to get back on the kit–although these days, my approach comes out much different!  It’s so exciting to explore the possibilities of drum compositions from the great Ustads!

A tabla master of the highest order, Pandit Samta Prasad Ji’s music continues to inspire tabla players, hindustani musicians, and music lovers alike to this day.  I often look towards old recordings for inspiration before and after my riyaaz and today I was happy to find this video of Samta Ji’s solo:

I love the power, balance, and clarity in his hand–it feels truly Benarasi to me.  It is said that he was known as the ‘king of Banaras’ during his life, and this video certainly illustrates why!

Born in 1921, he comes from a family and lineage of tabla and pakawaj players.  His father, Pandit Hari Sunder (also known as Bacha Mishra), initiated the young Samta Ji into tabla, but sadly passed away when Samta Ji was seven.  He then became a disciple of Bikku Maharaj, who was himself a disciple of Baldev Sahai (all in the Benaras lineage/gharana of Ram Sahai).

In addition to his prolific classical career Samta Ji was also featured in many films of his day: Meri Surat Teri Ankhen, Sholay, Basant Bahar, and many more.  I found a great excerpt from Meri Surat Teri Ankhen that again shows his strength and grace as a brilliant tabla artist.

Below are some additional links for more information on his life.  We are truly blessed to hear such incredible masters of the past!

Pandit Gudai Maharaj (Pandit Samta Prasad)


I am so excited for this year and all the great concerts already scheduled. I am in the middle of a concert filled weekend with some amazing artists: Dusty Brough (Therianthrope), Rebecca Kleinmann, Julien Cantelm, Bruno Serrano, and my guruji, Abhiman Kaushal.  I am especially excited about the last one as I rarely have the chance to sit with my guruji on stage! Therianthrope is almost done with our album–which will be out by the end of February–and we have two tours booked with more on the way. I am starting to tour with Dave Stringer a bit more as well–our first adventure takes us to the Denver chant festival on February 16th with a kirtan flight school to follow. In addition, I am looking forward to making music with the amazing Sheela Bringi on bansuri, harmonium, and vocals on Dave’s upcoming tours. Be sure to check back and subscribe to my blog, I will update regularly while on tour!