3 comments on “Sheila Chandra – Taal

  1. uuups…wrong key. Anyway, I loved this performance very much! I don’t know enough about what she is doing here…is this (at least partly) improvisation? I really like how she moves through emotion as well as through rhythm and pitch. Also, the way this piece ends is so powerful!! Very theatrical! Thanks for posting this!

  2. Hi, Anda. What she’s doing here is in the tradition of Konnakol, South Indian vocal percussion. “Taal” is another way of spelling “tala,” Carnatic Indian rhythm. I believe it’s mostly improvisation, but some elements are set. I’ve tried to read about the formal elements of taal or tala, but it’s hard to absorb; I’m going to have to concentrate more on that sometime. I recognize this vocal percussion more readily these days because it traditionally is part of the music in many bharatanatyam performances (and probably other South Indian dances).

    I think you’re right that Sheila Chandra adds her own unique touches, though. I said more about this, but I deleted that, because I’m not really sure I know enough to say exactly what she is doing that is different… One YouTube commenter said that “she is saying the name of the note of each beat.” I’m trying to understand what that means, never mind understanding how she can do it! The same commenter mentions that she is imitating the tabla drums. That I understand, and I think she is doing that exceptionally well.

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