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Adventures in the US

Ty Burhoe

Hello from Boulder Colorado,
We held our bi-yearly tabla retreat at the end of February. This year we focused much more on the art of accompaniment and using what we know to play with others. Which is really what it is all about for most of us. To make the tabla sing out its amazing tone and for us to become comfortable with any of the countless rhythms available, is a worthy task. As I have said many times, to me, the tabla is a melodic instrument which happens to be amazingly rhythmic. I feel that my Guru Zakir Hussain shows us all the truth of this perspective.
So now we are limiting our workshops to 20 people so we can each dig deeper into what each of our needs are during the workshop. It was a beautiful hard working group, as usual, and our new space helped make us all feel at home.


Our special guest this year for the concert was the maestro of the sarode Steve Oda. He is such a pleasure to play with. Certainly, our tours all over the world have helped us find a very special kinship and that shows up in the music in subtle as well as obvious ways. I feel very blessed each and every time I have a chance to accompany him.


We spent part of one day focused on performing in front of others. There is only one way to become comfortable with this aspect of being a musician, and that is "do it". Many time we find that what we do everyday in the practice room simply isn't available once we are on stage in front of people. I remember once at Carnegie Hall, I had the greatest solo performance after sound check,,, haaaaa,,, and no one was in the beautiful hall but me. And during the performance all I could do was wonder, who was that playing tabla earlier??? But the simple effort of trying to sit in the seat of a performer is a brave act and I take my hat off to all the students.


It also seems to happen, that my birthday sometimes falls on the winter tabla retreat dates, so to my surprise, the students arranged a beautiful (huge) chocolate cake for me a one of our dinners out. They are soooo sweeeeeeet !!! I look forward to our upcoming summer retreat where we'll be having world renowned violin maestro Kala Ramnath joining us for the Friday night concert...


A day or two following the tabla retreat (and a new recording for Tala Records that Steve Oda and I finished), my dear friend Abbos Kosimov flew out from California. For those of you new to Abbos, he is the world's greatest frame drum player. I suppose you could say he is the Zakir Hussain of the Doyra (Uzbekistanian frame drum). The main reason he flew in was for us to record on another Tala Records release soon to come out which features bass virtuoso Kai Eckhardt. But the other reason was for us to eat SUSHI... which we both love!!!


Abbos also was kind enough to allow me to film him recording on the new CD. This is my home studio up in the mountains and him "kickin the pants off his doyra".
The more I get to know the language of the Doyra, the more I see it is much like tabla. It has many syllables with corresponding strokes and has a long deep tradition of compositions and rhythmic communication. To have his playing on my label is a great honor and we look forward to more live touring this coming June - come check it out:


Within a few days of Abbos' visit I was on the road with Sandra Wong and Dominick Leslie in our still un-named trio. They are so refreshing to play with because we are playing music from many different traditions. I get to play tabla for Bach and Swedish Polskas and killer old Bluegrass tunes. You wouldn't think it right off, but the tabla goes well with mandolin and nyckelharpa.


We toured down through a beautiful and remote town called Crestone Colorado and then up through La Veta Colorado where we were hosted by my old buddy David Inkie whose company is world famous now for making custom made pickups for any instrument. We had a fantastic time with them and the music lovers down there. Great little town, you should check it out if ever your road tripping by there.


And we ended up back in Boulder for a midday concert at my old stomping ground, The Boulder Public Library. I use to present many of my world music shows there in the 1990's. We ended the tour with some fun radio shows and a house concert in Fort Collins. The music is not the only thing refreshing about this trio. Each of us comes from a completely different tradition in which we can draw and share from, so in many ways, we are always learning learning learning. A very important element for all of us - keeping the brain discovering and reaching.
I send you all much love and joy as I head off for Japan. The earthquake there happened only 10 days ago and my tour there has become a benefit tour to share hearts and music.
More soon,