Reheaded a tabla with good results :)


I reheaded this tabla last week and was very pleased with the results. Should be able to get this one up to D. The skin was from Harkiratji and sounds great. Took much less tension than the Kolkata pudis I’ve been used to. The top end is slightly less bright but it has more of what they call the ‘full’ sound. It’s hard to keep it in tune though. One thing I struggle with is getting the end section of the strap to be tight. Getting enough tension before tying it off is very hard. Anyway, really hope this one lasts!

reheaded Rhythm tabla

Mic inside bayan

I’m just dragging this out of the archives…
I’m thinking of tweaking this mic setup after discussing the subject with tabla player friend Daniel San.
He is researching the best way to put microphones inside his drums so I pointed him to this old post from back in 2010.
This is how the post went:

I’ve finally got round to trying the old ‘mic-inside-the tabla’ idea and I think it’s going to work out a treat. I’ll post much more in detail soon. In brief though, I fitted an AKG C418 condenser mic inside the bayan and it gives a strong low-mid tone with loads of resonance and a little bit of ‘metallic ringing’ which can of course be tweaked out of the signal. Great for gigs where mic-ing in the usual way presents too many problems.

Mic inside bayan
Mic inside bayan

Sitar and tabla concert

Look out for this one!
There will be a North Indian Classical concert at St.Andrew’s Church in Hove, on Friday September 19th.
Church address is Waterloo Street, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1AQ
It will be Partha Bose on sitar and Shiv Shankar Ray and myself, Marc Clayton on tabla.
Concert starts at 8pm and costs £8 on the door.
For more details please see
This will have extra details posted soon.

Tabla Solo by Akram Khan

A rare opportunity to hear the foremost exponent of the Ajrara Gharana.

A first solo in the UK – accompanied on Sarangi by Ilyas Khan
Supporting Act: Chakardar Ensemble, Summer School performance.

The Tabla is the most popular percussion instrument used in North Indian Music.  Believed to have originated in the 13th Century, this pair of highly versatile drums have over the centuries been used both as a “solo” instrument and for accompaniment with vocal, instrumental, dance, pop, folk and in more recent times for fusion.  The Tabla is by far the most complex percussion instrument in the world, capable of tremendous tonal and rhythmic complexity.

The Tabla consists of a smaller higher pitched drum known as the ‘Tabla’ or ‘dayan’, made of a cylindrical hollowed out wood.  The larger drum, known as the ‘Bayan’ or ‘dagga’ is made of metal covered with a goatskin top which provides the bass sound.

There are 6 common Tabla “Gharanas”, schools or styles of Tabla playing:  Delhi, Ajrara, Punjab, Farukhabad, Lucknow and Benaras.  All named after the place where the playing style emerged.  In many ways, the Gharana system has undergone considerable change in recent times.  The traditional method of imparting knowledge from master to son/disciples from the local vicinity meant that the different gharanas remained “unpolluted” for centuries.

With the advent of easier communication media networks, the current generation of Tabla maestros have been influenced not only by maestros from all the gharanas, but also by musical traditions of different cultures.  The traditional style of of teaching Indian classical music still prevales maintaining the purity of their particular gharana yet able to use equivalent traditional compositions from other ghranas to showcase the diversity of these great musical instruments. Such has been the influence of the sounds of the Tabla in the West that we hear a growing expansion into western jazz and pop music with such big names as Madonna, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot, Selena Gomez, etc…

More information can be found on

Chakardar Summer School

I just returned from spending 3 days at the Chakardar Summer School in Cobham, Surrey.
Thanks to the hard work of the organisers and teachers, this is an amazing opportunity to learn tabla from the most engaging and enthusiastic gurus you will ever encounter! I can’t recommend it enough.. I have enjoyed it now 4 summers in a row. What a great event. I always come away with loads of ideas and material to keep my practice well fuelled.

See for info