Based on Ektaal, one of India’s most popular taals (rhythmic frameworks), this eight-minute solo is the composer’s attempt to “transfer the Ektaal-feeling on to western instruments and sounds.” Extensive program notes serve as a minilesson on the pertinent information of Indian classical music as it relates to the solo. Additionally, the composer includes instructions on eclectic performance techniques (such as a reverse roll) and examples of ways to improvise during the multiple vamp sections included within the solo.
The over-arching feeling of this through-composed piece moves from rhythmically basic to quite active and complex. Anyone who has studied (or attempted to study) Indian classical music knows that even a focused season of learning only scratches the surface in terms of digesting, understanding, and producing appropriate sounds on the tabla. While a performer does not have to have extreme chops or fast hands to perform this piece, it will require a mature understanding of the rhythmic framework on which it is composed. This solo is perfect for inclusion in university recitals, or even in a semester study when fundamental elements of Indian classical music are introduced.
—Joshua D. Smith