CLASSICAL MUSIC OF INDIA
TARO TERAHARA (bansuri)
Taro Terahara is a senior disciple of Amit Roy for that last couple of decades and began his study under Mr. Hiroshi Nakagawa and continued with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia in the 1990’s. Taro has dedicated himself fully to learning this beautiful art form and has carried on the teachings to countless students in Japan. Taro has performed all over the world including India, Australia, South America and the US. Taro has recorded on dozens of recordings including 2 select classical albums with tabla maestro Anindo Chatterjee. He is adept at crossing the boundaries of musical genre and has collaborated with many world fusion artists including with Tenzin Choegyal and has played for several International films and documentaries. Taro now resides in Sakura, Japan and actively teaches and performs the beautiful music of North India.
The bansuri is a side blown flute from South Asia found in many parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It is an aerophone produced from bamboo.It is one of the most common instruments in the North Indian or Hindustani classical music. Bansuri is a very sensitive instrument; almost all the delicate graces, curves, embellishments and shades of classical music can be performed to perfection upon it. The highest order of music can be played on this instrument, and its resonance in mandra saptak (lower octave) leaves a rare charm in the minds of its listeners. Being a portable instrument, it can be carried easily from place to place and climatic changes have very little or no effect on the seasoned bamboo.
Longer Bio Below:
Taro Terahara is one of the leading musicians in the thriving & highly competitive Indian classical music scene in Japan. His music comfortably spans the full range from contemplative soulful alaap (slow non-rhythmic introduction) to exciting, rhythmic jhala (fast-paced finale). He has a great command of sur (tuning) and lay (timing), with the ability to compose innovative improvisations in the spur of the moment, yet all of this is tempered by a beautiful humility and devotion to the mood and spirit of the raga. His music both engages the mind and touches the heart.
Born in 1968 to two junior high school teachers, Terahara had a relatively free childhood. From an early age he enjoyed playing flutes and whistles while walking home from school, and later making his own flutes and taking part in school performances. At the age of 10 he began playing trumpet in the athletics carnival brass band, having been chosen for trumpet by a game of janken (rocks-paper-scissors). He continued playing trumpet for ten years or more, joining high school and university jazz bands.
At the age of 17 his musical outlook started to change when he was “shocked” on coming into contact with Sufi music and dance such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Pakistani Qawalli singer) and the Mevlevi Dancers (Sufi Whirling Dervishes of Turkey), as well as other than non-Western music. He was also greatly influenced by Keith Jarrett’s "The Koln Concert", and remembers being inspired that “just one person could perform such beautiful music for a full hour through pure improvisation.” While continuing in the university jazz band, he also joined the university gamelan group, "Dharma Bhudaya", and became ryuteki (a type of Japanese flute) leader in the university Gagaku orchestra (Japanese court music).
Along with these eclectic influences, Terahara started avidly collecting and studying the CDs of Indian classical music masters such as Pt. Nikhil Banerjee (sitar), Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia (bansuri), Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma (santoor) and U. Zakir Hussain (tabla). In 1991, the world-renowned master of bansuri Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia came to Japan and performed in the All Night Concert at Xebec Hall, Kobe. Terahara “heard the voice of the bansuri calling to him” and immediately decided that "I will, without question, learn to master this flute!”
In 1992 he became a student of Mr. Hiroshi Nakagawa (long-time disciple of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia) and the following year quit graduate school to devote himself entirely to the practice of Indian classical music. He soon went to India for the first time to take lessons from Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. From 1997 he began studies under Mr. Amit Roy (disciple of Pt. Nikhil Banerjee), who is generally seen as the father-figure of Indian classical music in Japan, who has guided and refined Terahara’s musical talents to the point where he has now recorded 2 CDs with tabla accompaniment by none other than the great maestro of tabla, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee: Air (2005) and Mist (2006).
Taro Terahara has performed Indian classical music across the whole of Japan as well as in India. He has visited Australia for concerts most years since 2006, performing at Woodford Folk Festival, Festival of Tibet, and numerous concerts around the country. Moreover, he has proved his versatility by collaborating in performances with Odissi dance, Arabic and Chinese music, jazz, etc, with fabulous results. He also teaches bansuri and Indian classical vocal , as well as teaching Indian music to students of various musical instruments such as violin and bass.