The Sounds and Influence of South Asian Music -- Gurpreet Chana at Scarborough Civic Centre

May 18, 2016 | Miriam

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We wrap up the Soundstreams Salon 21 series with a wonderful program featuring Gurpreet Chana (pictured below) on tabla and electronics. The music of Asia has long exerted a profound influence on composers and such influences are today the norm, rather than the exception. With that in mind, this program was developed especially for the library's beautiful new Scarborough Civic Centre branch. Put May 26, 7-8 pm  on your calendar now! 


Soundstreams is one of the most exciting contemporary music companies around -- and not just in Toronto. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney, Soundstreams is internationally renowned for creating unique musical experiences, combining performance with discussion and audience participation through their Salon 21 series. 

Not everyone is handy to The Gardiner Museum, home to their regular Salon 21 series, or to Massey Hall and other centrally-located major venues for their main stage series. So Soundstreams, with the support of the Toronto Arts Council, has brought Salon 21 to the rest of the city through the branches of the Toronto Public Library! This Scarborough program on May 26 will draw on the the sounds and influence of both South Asian and Western musical palettes and listeners/participants will learn how Chana and the other artists weave influences from around the world into their own works.

Gurpreet Chana Biographical Notes

Gurpreet Chana is one of Canadaʼs leading tabla fusion artists. A producer, technician, composer and performer, his music juxtaposes the time-honoured tradition of the tabla with a dizzying array of musical styles. Weaving the hypnotic sounds of the tabla drums into the fabric of contemporary music, he spreads its rhythmic pulse like a meme with each fresh cultural integration.  A student of the tabla since the age of three, Chana is trained in the Punjab Gharana (style) and studies under Professor Parshotam Singh. Born in Etobicoke and raised in Hamilton, a second generation Canadian of South Asian descent, Chanaʼs music stems from the diversity he experienced growing up in a pluralistic society. At a time where genres collided openly and playfully, he embraced the tabla as his means of being heard in those creative conversations.

This innate tendency towards collaboration has led Chana to stages across the world, and into the studio alongside a notable roster of artists including Nelly Furtado, Tanya Tagaq, Niyaz, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Jorane, DJ Starting from Scratch and legendary UK DJ/producer Bally Sagoo. Alongside these artists he honed a groundbreaking digital fusion technique known as tablixing, his unique form of tabla integration using digital software.

kLoX, his creative partnership with classical violinist Robert Mason, expanded on the concept, as the pair borrowed from tech house, drum 'n' bass and dubstep to interrogate the relationship between classical instrumentation and digital composition. Tangentially, an intensive period of R&D saw Chana continue to push the relationship between tabla and electronic interface ever further.

His multilayered narrative, TABLIX, is a breathtaking integration of tabla and technology, and an exploration of the melodic potential of the tabla. The project blends the ergonomics of the traditional with the infinite possibilities of the digital to create a new mode of artistic expression. TABLIX is an experience which must be seen to be truly appreciated. You can see Gurpreet in a performance of TABLIX on Youtube:

Learn More About Tabla

If you are curious to learn more about Tabla, the library's collections have a number of CDs and books (thanks to Muriel's blog post: Asian Heritage Month Concert: Tablix): 

Sacred Beats of the Tabla    Rock the Tabla    Tabla Mantra

    The Rough Guide to Indian Classical Music    The Dawn of Indian Music in the West    Electronic Music

      Electronic and Computer Music        Electronic and Experimental Music        The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music