LABELS: Naxos World
PERFORMER: Ritesh Das and the Toronto Tabla Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: 76018-2
Moving into less austere arenas, some purposeful fusion comes from the TORONTO TABLA ENSEMBLE.
This lively outpost of the Indian diaspora may recall the Calcutta Drum Orchestra which toured internationally a decade ago, but it is quite a different animal, creative and energetic with a strong jazz element.Multiple tablas don’t thud; they whisper, because they are never quite in synchronisation.
The handful of thunderous numbers are the product of kit drums and a bass guitar, otherwise the style is to multiply up typical tabla subtleties such as sustained bouts of cross-rhythms, and to mix in surprises: a jazz-rap vocalist, an Arab singer with a Philip Glass-like chorus, and a sitar-style banjo – don’t ask why, but it works. All in all the album exudes fun and opens ears too.