The Tabla is the most popular Percussion instrument of North India. Each sound on the Table has an onomatopoetic syllable to represent it. Therefore, the Tabla player must learn to speak a new language in addition to playing. Syllables are, in fact, the mode teaching and communicating Tabla material. They help the student to understand the sound to be produced and aid memorization of compositions.
There are many books available on the subject of Table and writers have written, focusing their own areas.
No doubt, these books are useful for students, but some specific terms are left unexplained viz. Controversy in technical words and some specific clarifications in practical/experimental aspect, which is very essential for the students. Proper knowledge of Gharana (style) is very important.
Pt. Chhote Lal Misra, Born in a Bengali family on the 12th April, 1940 and alighted as a world renowned Table Maestro the Legend Pt, Chhote Lal Misraji took initiation in Tabla at an early age of six and learnt the art of playing Tabla systematically under the ‘Guru-Sishyra’ tradition from the Legendary Tabla wizard of Banaras Gharana (Late) Pt. Anokhe Lal Mishraji always remembered as the King of ‘Na Dhi Dhin Na’.
Pt. Misraji is endowed with an exceptional tonal quality of his right fingers and blend of light filigree touch of the right drum with depth of the left. As such, his zeal to learn more and more has made him fully acquainted with the Banaras Baaz. The presentation of difficult Compositions, Tihais and difficult Layakaris with proper weight and clarity but in a simple and asy manner, is the main speciality of his recital.
Pt. Chhote Lal Misraji has accompanied famous artists, Presented Solo recitals in befitting manner in the national and international programmes and served as visiting professor in a praiseworthy way in the various institutions and Universities viz. Pennsylvania, Denmark, Sweden and London etc. He also performed in Princeton University (New Jersey), Asia House (New York), Ravi Shankar Music Circle, Ali Akbar Khan Sangeet Mahavidyalaya (California), Vesselian University (USA), Chicago, San Francisco, Sonoma State University (California), Boston, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Holland, Canada and Nepal etc.
A Few names of those reputed artistes who Panditji accompanied on national and international stages, can be mentioned here-Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Nisaar Hussain Khan, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Pt. Ram Chatue Mallik, Pt. Siyaram Tiwari, Pt. Basavraj Rajguru, Vidushi Kishori Amonkar, Videushi Girija Devi, Lakshmi Shankar, Nirmala Devi, Prof. M.R. Gautam, Pt. Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Halim Zafar Khan, Prof. Radhika Mohan Moitra, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Prof. V.G. Jog, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Dr. N. Rajam, Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pt. Buddhaditya Mukherjee, Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt and others. In Karnatik-Hindustani Duet Recital, Prof. T.V. Gopalkrishnan, Pt. Umayapluram V.K. Shivraman Pt. M.S. Gopal Krishanan and others. Pt Chhote Lal Misra has been awarded with many titles viz. Sangeet Shree, Prakhyat Tabla Vadak, Akhil Bharatiya Kala Ratna, Pt. Bikku Maharaj Sangeet Samman, Navras Sangeet Vachaspati Award (D.Litt.), Senior National Fellowship Award (Ministry of Cultural, Govt. Of India), also found place in ‘who’s who Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi. Pt. Misraji’s biography has also found place in several books and text books.
The book ‘Taal Prasoon’ Taal Prabandh and Tabla Granth’ written by him, has gained popularity as a rare creations. His accompaniment and Solo Performances are also available in the form of L.P., E.P. Cassette, C.D. and V.C.D.
There is a long chain of his disciples in the country as well as abroad. They are doing well and going ahead in the field of Tabla and are able to brighten the name of our Guruji.
The Exponent Tabla player of Banaras Gharana Pt Chhote Lal Misra retired from service in the year 2002 as Reader (Instrumental Music), Faculty of Performing Arts, B.H.U., Varanasi and was granted extension for further three years. He is now guiding and providing training to a large number of disciples under ‘Guru-Shishya’ tradition imparting knowledge of speciality and eminence of Banaras style of playing table.
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