This interview is done in a middle east airport, while waiting for a connecting flight
I want to ask you what time means to you
With playing the tablas, it is holding the beat, within the context of a piece of music, while playing in the studio, or in a live gig, with other musicians. I also like being able to play the beat in any way i like, but that is when i am either playing by myself, or when i am recording my own music.
What do you mean playing the beat in any way you like?
It is actually my own way of either being behind the beat, or ahead of it.
But you are always, on the beat?
Yes of course. I need not accentuate it or that. It’s there, and is for me to allow any movement of a sound or note, in any direction i want. It is a joy of music. Time on the other hand, is a very precious gem that i treasure, as i know it is not going to be around in my life forever.
Some wise person said, “ time waits for no one”. It seems to wait for you?
It is wonderful to have the time, to think, to think of music, to think of creativity. It is finding the right time to have peace, quiet, and silence, to think. Sometimes, between 2-3 to 5 a.M. In the morning, while everyone is asleep, no traffic to hear, i can listen to the silence of time. I can dig into the quiet of time, to create ideas in my mind. Occasionally i might write something on a paper. The music of the pen writing on the page, is the only loudness i hear. And wow there went the last few minutes,this time. It takes a whole lifetime. To arrive at an understanding of oneself, creativity, nature and humans. And then suddenly you realise, time is short, and you have to go soon, or maybe a bit later. It is that time to find peace within oneself. Then you realise, you always had that peace in you from birth. This life is simply the process of finding the time, to understand and find, oneself in tune with time.
I notice you always have the tablas, with you when you travel, and also the guitar. What do you think of those who want to learn music, or an instrument, but cannot afford to pay, for lessons, or a teacher ?. What would you advice a young person?
Yes, we have seen on our travels, that many love, and are interested in wanting to play an instrument. Some do not have it. Some have it, and need someone to teach them, it is a question, of finding the right person. Nowadays, one can learn, some, on the internet, but the beauty of it, is finding the right person to teach. The really good musicians, are usually, also nice persons. You might come across one or two, who stumble over their own egos, or reputations, but basically there are decent persons. I am sure these young persons need only to find the right teacher, and instrument.
What about you with the tablas. What kind of journey have they taken you on?
Wow, there is enough up there in the question, to grasp what’s in there, or should be at least. With the tablas, i do not need to broadcast to the world, that i have arrived. I play them at, and to a level, that i have set myself, to reach, and arrive at. To be comfortable, to be free with my playing, and to go further, whenever i want. That is freedom. It is a growth inside taking shape, sometimes invisible to others. A beauty of allowing the emotions and feelings, to come through. Sure one starts with the brain accumulating the music, and tabla requirements, but the journey has been one of being able to feel, and enjoy, and not think about the playing. It took time, to arrive at this level of being. I want to ask you a question or two. Is that okay?
As a journalist, and writer, how do you feel, about the state of matters for journalists, and their safety?
Too many of them are getting killed, hurt, abused, and damaged. This is not what it should be about reporting facts, truth, and informing the world. Most of us have a job to write about, and there are some who want to prevent, that the truth of it, is laid bare, to the world. Do you not agree, and see it that way, Sam?
With music, i am in a world where i create, make and play music. I am aware that out there, there are some dangers, when one gets too near an explosive issue or topic.
But you know what is going on. Do you not think musicians, and artists should also be active to condemn these atrocities against journalists ?.Or is it political, have you not had any interest in that subject?
I am happy with music and creativity. Sure it is essential, as a musician and artist, for me to be aware of what's going around. But in some of these situations, there are people who “ send out the truth, with the intention of spreading the lie”. There are industries that are working, to protect their domains. There are sometimes thugs and gangsters, at the head of countries, that will kill to protect their gains and interests. The world is in some sort of turmoil, while it seems to me, like that is how they want it. Wars, tyranny, brutality, chaos, and the driving force behind it is money, and more money, and power. And they do not want the truth of it coming out. I have great respect, and admiration, for writers and journalists, who get into the deeper side of wanting to find out, and report, to the world. The tragedy of it all is, that while one is investigating one matter, and reports it, another is found, lurking around the corner. It is great that many, many young people are getting aware of what’s going on. I hope we can see a more of a peaceful and mature world. This insane ritual of killing people, raping women, destroying young minds, and spreading damaging chaos, must have a solution,or two, no matter what the material gains are. As to the musicians and artists, i am sure most of them are burdened by what you asked. It is also possible, that a few of them may not have the full scan of the whole picture, it is not the music, the trumpets are playing, and the trumpets are not the horns, blowing the melody. It can be seen as a mirage within a blur, for some, or a flash of a second passing by, in a rewind of slow motion.
What has the family, and friends meant to you, all these years?
I have been very lucky. I have a family, in which i was born in, who loves me, i have a “family” of friends who have been there, and are still there. There are some really very special, and caring people who have come into my life. Not only am i happy, i am grateful to be able to treasure that.
Have you been satisfied with all that you have been through with music ?. Was there some desires in music you wanted to go in further?
I feel i have had a very satisfying time and involvement with music, and it’s experiences. I think i would have also liked to have studied the piano, and get to know it like i know the tablas. Perhaps, i think i would have also wished some valuable time with a guitar master, i think i would need to have two lives, to get into all that. I think that says it all. Thank you for this “ dive into the paradise of my memory ocean “.
Thank you for your time Sam.