Pandit Kumar Bose

Category Percussion | Tags Tabla

Pandit Kumar Bose is one of the modern world’s most exciting tabla players. He trained under legendary Benares maestro Pandit Kishan Maharaj, and embodies his guru’s blend of discipline and flamboyance. He rose to prominence as one of Pandit Ravi Shankar’s accompanists, and has performed with almost all of today’s leading Hindustani instrumentalists as well as working in dance and film.

His style is notoriously powerful, utilising the full range of the Benares gharana’s open-hand striking techniques. Particular awe is reserved for his control of the bayan (bass tabla) - he believes that “it acts like water, balances the angst with reposeful mood...Bayan’s meend plays a major role in scripting the language of love and peace.” His playing blends aggression with a lyrical approach - during a documentary a student asked him quickfire questions including ‘rhythm or melody’, and he instantly chose melody.

Bose also incorporates global ideas (“intriguing rhythmic patterns from all over the world – Arabian, Mexican and the like”), and few alive can hold a candle to his all-around rhythmic command. Outside of music he is an avid player of carrom (Indian chess) - his guru once gifted him a gold carrom set, saying “he is equally addicted to the game and the tabla”.

"As an accompanist it is my moral duty to give top priority to the main artiste. Playing solo is a different game...then I am a royal Bengal tiger!"

• Darbar Player: If short clips aren't Kumar’s full-length duet with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on the Darbar Player. We’re a small not-for-profit, and filming, editing, and hosting cost money - so subscribing costs $5/month, which we hope is an excellent price for such a wealth of unique music.

—Also see Living Traditions: 21 articles for 21st-century Indian classical music, our new series exploring how music with ancient roots continues to innovate in a fast-paced, interconnected modern world. Expand your appreciation!

Darbar Arts & Heritage believes in the power of Indian classical music to stir, thrill, and inspire. To find out more, get the Darbar newsletter, explore our YouTube channel, or sign up to the Darbar Player to watch extended festival performances in pristine HD quality.

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Founded in 2006, Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar) believes in the power of Indian classical arts to stir, thrill and inspire. Through digital connectivity, shared experiences and enrichment we ensure that one of the finest art forms reaches the widest possible audience.

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