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Toronto Tabla Ensemble – For The Love Of Tabla

Toronto Tabla Ensemble spreads love with their eighth studio album, For The Love Of Tabla. Ritesh Das (founder and artistic director of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble) wanted the tabla to be front and center on For The Love Of Tabla. In the past, the tabla (a set of twin drums), would get lost among other instruments. It was Das’s intention for, For The Love Of Tabla to embody feelings of love and devotion, a subject they had yet to explore. The pandemic presented some technical challenges while they were recording since Das collaborates with artists from around the world but they used it to their advantage. In spite of the state of the world, Toronto Tabla Ensemble produced an album drenched in love and positivity.

For The Love Of Tabla fuses the tabla with different styles of music. While most of the album is instrumental the use of supersonic vocal recitation and singers elevates the sounds of the tabla into an otherworldly experience. “Prayer For The Mother” is a stand out track on For The Love Of Tabla that proves that the tabla can be played in any form. “Prayer For The Mother” features singer Bif Naked’s hypnotic vocals and explosive vocal recitation from Das. Female power is at the forefront of the song which is something Das wanted to explore while they were recording it. Longtime friend of Das’s, Kiyoshi Nagata, played Taiko drums on “Prayer For The Mother” to bring an enriched and earthy feeling to the track. All of these aspects come together to create a captivating song, unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

The sounds and arrangements on For The Love Of Tabla are out of this world. One of my favorite tracks is “Jovano Jovanke,” a hauntingly beautiful mixture of violom, vocals, and tabla. The tabla comes in a little more than a minute in, instantly bringing the track to life by embodying the sound of a heartbeat. Shortly after it gets your blood pumping, the enchanting  Eastern European vocals come in. Das famously mixes classical North Indian music with other styles, but some tracks lean into the tabla’s roots more than the others. When the tabla and sitar mix, something truly profound happens. “Burning Sky” and “Nine To Ten” celebrate the wonder the tabla inspires in you as you listen.If the tabla slows down it has the power to hypnotize its listeners, when it speeds up your hairs stand on end.

Das’s intention with For The Love Of Tabla was to spread love to its listeners. Whether it was love for music, sharing music, others, or simply for the tabla itself, Das has achieved that. This is an album unlike anything I’ve ever heard or experienced. For The Love Of Tabla has an energy that provokes the soul. So many emotions are embodied throughout the 11 tracks you feel like you’re going on a journey, with the tabla guiding you. Theres something about the tabla that makes you feel like you’re discovering it for the first time again and again. It’s magic.

For The Love Of Tabla is unlike any music you’ve heard or experienced before. Ritesh Das’s mission to make the essence of classical North Indian accessible to the western world has resulted in some of the most creative and unique out there. Toronto Tabla Ensemble celebrates the tabla, love, and music on For The Love Of Tabla. You do not want to miss this groundbreaking album! Listen to For The Love Of Tabla now!         

Mindy McCall



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