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Determined to be a Tabla Soloist: Meet Nilan Chaudhuri

Nilan Chaudhuri will feature on the tabla during Sanskriti, the North Bay Hindu Center's annual festival of classical Indian dance and music, on Saturday, March 11 at the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael. Proceeds benefit the newly inaugurated Śrī Shakti Temple in Petaluma.

As seen on nilantabla.com: NILAN CHAUDHURI is a Bay Area based percussionist, educator, and performer. Initiated into the tradition of Indian Classical Music at the age of five by his father, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Nilan has been performing as a tabla soloist and accompanist for nearly two decades. Prior to beginning his formal training with his father in 2000, Nilan studied tabla with Brad Van Cleve, Tim Witter, and Uttam Chakraborty, all of whom are senior disciples of his father.



Drawing inspiration from his father’s innovative approach to classical tabla solo, Nilan was determined from a young age to be a soloist. He presented his first public tabla recital at the age of eleven, at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, in the presence of Maestro Ali Akbar Khansahib. It was during these formative years that Nilan was introduced to the world of Tabla accompaniment by Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, providing rhythmic support for his vocal and instrumental classes at the college.


As a teenager, Nilan was inspired by the Jazz-fusion Band ‘Oregon’ a group spearheaded by his cousin, multi-percussionist, Collin Walcott. The band’s music influenced Nilan to broaden his rhythmic studies, and in 2003, he began learning the drum set with Sly Randolph, of Richmond, California. Today, Nilan experiments regularly with bridging the two styles of Indian and American drumming, and plays a hybrid kit that fuses together the tabla and drum set, and incorporates electronic percussion instruments like the Roland HandSonic, and Ableton Push. Since 2007, Nilan has had the incredible opportunity to attend tabla-centric rhythm workshops conducted by Ustad Zakir Hussain. He has also attended South Indian percussion classes taught by ghatam Vidwan Subhash Chandran, kanjira Vidwan Ganesh Kumar, and Jim Santi Owen.


Since his debut performance in concert with his father in Queens, NY, in 2005, Nilan has had the privilege of sharing the stage with some of Hindustani Classical Music’s most celebrated artists, like Ustad Amjad Ali Khansahib, Ustad Shujaat Khan, Pt. Ramesh Misra, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, and Alam Khan, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Fillmore, The Monterey Pop Festival, The Richmond Folk Festival, Fox Theater, The San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, and The Kennedy Center. His genre-bending collaborations include performances, projects, and recordings with the likes of conductor Michael Morgan and the Fremont Symphony, pop star, Beck, sitarist, Arjun Verma, sarodist, Manik Khan, violinist Raaginder Singh Momi, The Toronto Tabla Ensemble, George Brooks, Dennis Chambers, Miles Schon, and DJ Teeko. In addition to maintaining a rigorous performing schedule, Nilan teaches Tabla throughout the Bay Area as a faculty member at the Ali Akbar College of Music, in San Rafael, and as the Director of Percussion at Chitresh Das Institute, in San Mateo. He also serves as an archivist at the Ali Akbar College of Music, where the construction of a musical archive spanning 40 years of his Father’s work, is underway. It’s his lifelong mission to contribute to the preservation and enrichment of Indian Classical percussion.


Please join NBHC in welcoming Nilan Chaudhuri to Sanskriti on March 11. Make sure to buy your tickets today by clicking here.


NBHC Sanskriti Shakti Annual Festival of Classical Indian Dance and Music

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