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Ritesh Das

Toronto Tabla Ensemble

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Toronto, ON M4L1Z2

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Toronto Tabla Ensemble is a not-for-profit organization committed to fostering an interest in tabla and the classical North Indian rhythmic system by organizing classes and performing in concerts with the aim of developing and expanding the musical form. The ensemble was founded in 1991 by Artistic Director and Tabla Master, Ritesh Das. The Ensemble’s debut show in 1993 at the Music Gallery was proclaimed by Now Magazine as one of the top ten shows of the year alongside the likes of Prince at Maple Leaf Gardens. The success of that first show launched the Toronto Tabla Ensemble into the Vancouver Folk Festival, and eventually to stages across Canada. The first show was purely percussion, based on the pure sound of tabla. However, over the years, the TTE broadened its sound with collaborations with Japanese Taiko drums, Celtic music, belly dance, and even rock and roll, with Jeff Martin and the Tea Party. In partnership with KORG, TTE has composed several pieces using the electronic sound of KORG’s wavedrums to express traditional tabla material. TTE brought out four albums, including Juno-nominated Firedance. That was how Ritesh Das and the TTE played a major part in bringing tabla into mainstream Canadian music. The Ensemble’s original music has been used in numerous films and commercials, and in 2003 the Ensemble was commissioned to create the current theme music for CBC Radio’s daily morning show, Metro Morning. Tabla classes at the Toronto Tabla Ensemble are taught in the traditional style allowing students to develop an understanding of tabla stroke technique, recitation, and rhythmic theory. Through Ritesh Das’ lineage, own studies, and vision, this North Indian rhythmic system is passed on to all students, many of whom have become professional musicians themselves. Currently there are three teaching locations in: Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough.

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