Global Spice World Music Series presents David Trasoff, sarode and Ty Burhoe, tabla
Time and Location
Sponsored by Adventures NW magazine
David Trasoff is a senior disciple of the late maestro Swara Samrat Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. David was privileged to have studied sarode performance and North Indian classical music with his guru since 1973. David is also a senior student of Ustad Zakir Hussain, and continues his study of sarode and vocal music with Pandit Rajeev Taranath. Acclaimed for his performance in both the United States and India, David has appeared in concert in arts centers, universities, conservatories and festivals in the United States, Europe, and Asia and has made numerous performing tours in India. David holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.F.A. in music from California Institute of the Arts. He served as Director of the Indian Music Ensemble at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has taught at the California Institute of the Arts, University of California Riverside, California State University San Marcos, Pomona College and the Rotterdam Conservatory CODARTS program. David has composed and performed music for film, theater and dance projects, including an award-winning Los Angeles production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the acclaimed Indian art film Leela. His recordings include a When Words Disappear, a CD of North Indian classical music recorded with Ustad Zakir Hussain and Svara:New World, original compositions for his quartet of sarode, guitar, bass and percussion.
In 2012 David was named the Gordhain Patel Visiting Distinguished Professor of Indian Music Studies at the University of Georgia Hodgson School of Music, the first Western performer of Indian music so honored. Other artists who have received this appointment and residency include Ustad Shujaat Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain. In 2011 David was the recipient of the President’s Scholarship from the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in association with the Berlin State Museums to support travel, performance and music research Germany and Europe.
David received his doctorate based on his research into the transformation of Hindustani instrumental performance practice in response to colonialist narratives. His exploration of the dynamics of the All-India Music Conferences of 1916-1925 was published in Hindustani Music: Thirteenth to Twentieth Centuries. He has presented his research at conferences in United States, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan. His recent work has focused on the role played by Sourindro Mohun Tagore in influencing European views of North Indian classical music, based on research conducted throughout Europe under the auspices of a grant from the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbestiz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).
Ty Burhoe has been a disciple of Ustad Zakir Hussain since 1990. From that time forward, Ty has dedicated his life to music as a career and as a spiritual path. Ty is known for his inspired accompaniment and uplifting presence in both classical and in fusion settings. He is internationally recognized for being instrumental in creating unique collaborations that weave tabla with other world traditions. He has become well known not only for his talents as a tabla player / composer, but also for his extensive experience as a recording engineer and live concert producer. Ty also was the tour & stage manager for his teacher Zakir Hussain for over 25 years. Ty has performed in prestigious halls all around the world including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and Royal Festival Hall in London and many many more. He has been featured on hundreds of recordings and videos with a long list of collaborations spanning a great many genre.
About North Indian Classical Music
The performance of North Indian raga music is spontaneous music-making within a highly structured traditional framework of melody and rhythm. It is also tied to the time of day and season of performance and the immediate relationship of the performers and their audience. The classical tradition in Indian music dates back over 3,000 years to the Vedas, the earliest Hindu spiritual texts. The Sama Veda speaks of "Nada Bramha," the concept that "music is the language of the Divine." Based on the fundamentals of Raga (melody) and Tala (rhythm) the music has developed continuously through ancient and medieval times into a system capable of expressing the finest shades and degrees of color and emotion. Indian classical music utilizes the same 12 note scale as is used in the West, except that the notes are used in just (pure) intonation rather than the equal temperament developed in Europe. The existence of "microtones" between the standard notes is also recognized. A raga is formed from a series of ascending and descending notes selected from a given music scale. Within this skeleton, the musician brings out the melody that gives a particular raga its character and mood: joy, sadness, romance, or a combination of these and other basic emotions.
In a classical performance, the raga is presented in two sections. In the first part, called alap, the musician plays unaccompanied and presents the notes contained within the raga, proceeding until all the notes and their interrelationship are explored. This allows the character of the notes and the raga to be shown in a framework free of a fixed rhythmic structure. The second section, gat, is marked by the entrance of the accompanying table player. From this point the raga is presented within a rhythmic cycle, having a specified number of beats, called the tala. The most common cycles contain 16, 10, 7, or 6 beats, subdivided into blocks of 2,3, or 4 beats. The music takes the form of theme and variation with the tabla maintaining a fixed pattern while the instrumentalist solos, and improvising in turn when the instrumentalist returns to the initial theme. The interplay or musical exchange between the instrumentalist and the accompanying tabla player revolves around showing the sam, the downbeat of the cycle. The speed and energy of the exchange increases throughout the composition building to a climax at the end of the piece.
About the Instruments
The sarode evolved into a classical instrument about 150 years ago, an expression of the combination of the classical, court-based tradition of the Mughal Empire with instruments derived from the folk-based traditions of Central Asia. Changes in design made in the 1920s and 1930s brought the sarode to its present form. The body of the sarode is carved from a single piece of teak covered with a goatskin head. The steel fingerboard is fretless, permitting the use of the slides, ornaments, and microtones characteristic of Indian music. The brass bell at the end of the instrument acts as a resonator. The sarode has 25 strings, 18 of which are sympathetic. Four main playing strings produce the same note range as a viola. Three rhythm strings are tuned to the tonic note.
The tabla is the classical drum of North India, used to accompany classical vocal or instrumental music since its development in the 18th century. It consists of two small hand drums; the right hand drum is made of rosewood, the larger left hand drum of copper or brass. Both are covered with heads made of multiple layers of goatskin. The black circle of paste and iron filings in the center permits the drum to be tuned precisely to a particular note. The drums, played separately and together, are capable of a wide variety of specific sounds or syllables which are combined into characteristic patterns and compositions.
The tanpura, usually played in the background during a classical concert, provides the tonic drone essential to classical Indian music. In contemporary practice, when a tanpura player is not available, the required sound is provided through an electronic app