Tabla Pro Kirtan
I can't believe fall is here already and it is actually more like winter. I am burning out on social networking and decided to make an entry in my blog instead. This weekend there was suppose to be an Ashtanga Yoga workshop here in Missoula with Randa from Bozeman but she came down with strep throat and had to cancel at the last minute.
I was very disappointed as I had been looking forward to the workshop since we first started to organize it in the spring. I was planning on attending the whole event including the Monday Morning Mysore. We were going to have a kirtan (sing the names of God) as part of the workshop. I had been practicing the tabla and harmonium in preparation.
Two years ago a friend of mine died who I had sung with every Friday night since 2010. Her name was Nirija and she was a very devotional human being and it was a joy to have known her. I had started singing with her and another woman in 2010 at a studio I had in the Warehouse Mall.
It had first begun as a harmonium class. I had intended to teach them how to play harmonium and I was going to accompany them on tabla. By 2012 the other woman had learned all she could from me and went out on her own and began playing kirtan. Nirija and I kept working together.
I learned many new songs from her. She was an excellent vocalist and musically talented. It soon became evident that she did not really want to learn to play the harmonium but to sing so I played harmonium and we would sing together every Friday night from 7 to 9. It was a most wonderful experience.
She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 about the same time that we began to chant together. In 2012 I had been to Maui and chanted with a group of musicians there. One of them had an iPhone and had an app called Tabla Pro. I did not have and apple device but Nirija did so I bought the app and we loaded it onto her phone.
She had a speaker system the phone plugged into. When her cancer became more advanced and I had moved out of my studio and we began chanting in a room in my house we stopped using the app Tabla Pro.
For the past two years I had not had much motivation to sing without her. I finally got motivated when we were going to have a kirtan with this weekends workshop. I started using an iPhone through Straight Talk and it turned out Tabla Pro was still in my Apple account I had created to buy it and I was able to install it from the cloud.
I started practicing the harmonium and singing with it plugged into a set of computer speakers. I had been trying to record my harmonium playing so I could sing and play the tabla. I had bought Powered Studio Monitors for that project but the idea didn't work well. I had bought an app called Bollywood Harmonium and was trying to enter the harmonium parts digitally.
Finally a week before the workshop my Digital Computer Interface stopped working and I sent it back to Sweetwater the company I had bought if from for repair. The kirtan was approaching this weekend and I wanted to be able to use the Studio Monitors but without the Interface it was not going to be possible except with my computer speakers.
Finally the Monday before the workshop I ordered an analogue board from Sweetwater. It arrived on the Thursday the Full Moon and I set it up with the monitors and plugged in Tabla Pro. It sounds incredible. I began rehearsing all the songs Nirija and I had worked out over five years and figuring out the best beat and tempo to use with each one.
Yesterday morning while I was making up chanting cards for the kirtan I got a text message that the Workshop had been cancelled. I was so disappointed. I had not done my practice that morning because I was going to be attending the workshop all weekend. At practice at Open Way that Friday morning I sat and meditated while the woman I share the space with taught a student palates.
When the workshop was cancelled I was disappointed. By 2 PM I didn't feel right so I did my practice then and finished at 4. I continued practicing with Tabla Pro after that. I also practice Tabla with a teacher on YouTube named Tej Singh from Toronto Canada. He is excellant and my tabla playing is really improving.
The workshop is supposed to be rescheduled and I am even more excited about playing the kirtan now that I have more time to prepare. I can also plug microphones into the board to amplify my voice and harmonium. I am really excited to see if this combination is going to work in a live kirtan situation. I will let you know how it goes.