ITHACA, NY — At the base of Lower Enfield Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park on Saturday, 100 tabla players drummed in unison, emulating the natural tempo of the rushing waterfall.
The tabla players were mostly children and some adults from the Taalim School of Indian Music led by Guru Pandit Divyang Vakil. The participants journeyed from New York, New Jersey and other areas of the Northeast.
The performance drew a big crowd of onlookers, who filled what is normally a swimming area at the park. After the performance, Vakil said it was a satisfying experience. Since many of the performers were children, Vakil said they will now have a very different association with their tablas. He said he wanted to give children the experience of playing next to such a “tempo of nature” like a waterfall.
“There was no rehearsal, there was no nothing. Whatever happened, it happened spontaneously here,” Vakil said after the performance.
Article continues after video below:
Saturday’s performance was spontaneous and it was also the first of its kind in the United States. The event was similar to an event that took place nearly 20 years ago at Jhanjhari Waterfall in India.
“Music and rhythm, it comes from nature,” Vakil said. “(The) world is nothing but sound and rhythm and if we go more and more near to the real sound and rhythm, I feel we go more and more near to the reality. And in today’s world, we really need to be very rhythmic. So you have to worship rhythm and we have to love rhythm.”
Speaking on Robert H. Treman State Park as the choice location for the event, Vakil said “Some of my students knew about this, and they said ‘you must go and check’ so we came and found this, and it’s very, very cool,” adding that “people here are very nice, all (Robert H. Treman) Park authority people are very helpful.”
Taalim School tabla teacher Mike Lukshis said, at the close of the event,”the reason we came here is because this place is so incredibly beautiful.”
Commenting on the loudness of the waterfall, Vakil added “Next time we come, we’ll bring microphone’s for every drummer.”