“Guru is the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and bestows knowledge in his disciples. I am very grateful to my respected Gurus late Pt Nandan Mehta, Pt Pooran Maharaj, Smt Manju Mehta and Shree Divyang Vakil, who imbibed in me the strong desire to pursue Indian Music and the Tabla. It is surely, owing to their blessings and teaching, that I got an opportunity to acquaint myself, learn and love my instrument!”
Jay’s learning in Tabla started at the age of 4 under the mentorship of Shree Divyang Vakil, a disciple of three prominent maestros of Tabla ; late Pt Sudhirkumar Saxena of Ajrada-Gharana, late Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan of the Delhi-Gharana and late Ustad Alla Rakha, the doyen of Punjab-Gharana.
By the age of 9, Jay started going to the Saptak School of Music, in order to further his training. At this institution, he received Taleem (vigorous training) of Tabla-playing in the Benaras-Gharana style.
Dada Guru Late Pt Kishan Maharaj had an enormous amount of influence towards the style of Tabla-playing taught at Saptak. Hence, Jay got trained in the Benaras-Gharana style, by his gurus late Pt Nandan Mehta and Pt Puran Maharaj.
Founder and trustee of the Saptak School of Music, late Pt Nandan Mehta hailed from a family, which is renowned for patronising music, painting and literature.
Pt Nandan Mehta’s training in Tabla started at the age of eight, under the tutelage of Shree Sadashivrao Lutde. Later, he started taking intensive training from the Maestro, late Pt Kishan Maharaj. Since then, he had always been deeply involved in the field of music and had been one of the prime students of Pt Kishan Maharaj. Pt Nandan Mehta holds a highly respectable position in the Indian classical musical arena, and had performed with great artists such as Ustad Rashid Khan, Pt Jarsaj, Smt Kishori Amonkar, Ustad Sultan Khan, Ustab Amjad Ali Khan and the like.
Through his strict and traditional teaching methods, he imbibed in Jay, the valuable qualities of Riyaaz (vigorous practice), sincerity, dedication, utmost discipline, and respect towards one’s Guru and also towards music
Born in 1952 in one of India’s most respected and well-known families of great musicians of the Benaras heritage, Pt Puran Maharaj is the son of late Padma Vibhushan Pt Kishan Maharaj.
He took Tabla training from his grandfather, Pt Kanthe Maharaj, the legendary Tabla genius of his time and later, from his father. Receiving well this nearly 400 year old Tabla-heritage, he has performed with great musicians such as Pt Ravi Shankar, Pt Birju Maharaj, Pt Gopi Kishan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt Raajan & Saajan Mishra, Smt Girja Devi, Ustad Nishat Khan, Ustad Ashish Khan, Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pt Ronu Majumdaar, Pt Tarun Bhattacharya, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and many others.
He has been appointed by the Government of India to represent, promote and teach Tabla through ICCR, in South American countries, Canada, USA and UK. Jay finds Pt Puran Maharaj’s way of teaching extra-ordinary in the sense, that he teaches his disciples the intricacies of creating complicated Paltaas (variations) and Tihaais (calculated syllables that are played three times in order to finish the rhythmic cycle) spontaneously.
mt Manju Mehta is one of India’s most renowned female sitarists. Hailing from a very well-known family of musicians in Jaipur, then married to late Pt Nandan Mehta, she is now a senior disciple of Pt Ravi Shankar.
She took up the sitar at age thirteen, under the tutelage of her “first guru”, her eldest brother, Shashi Mohan Bhatt, then a student of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Her parents, Manhohan and Chandrakalav Bhatt, both accomplished musicians in their own right, enthusiastically encouraged her as well as her siblings. “No matter what time of the day it was, there was always someone in the family practicing their music,” she says of her childhood, recalling her younger brother Vishwa Mohan Bhatt plucking away at his Hawaiian guitar and her nephew, Krishna Mohan Bhatt, trying his own hand at the sitar. Both are now internationally recognised musicians, with Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt performing with the likes of Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder and Jerry Douglas.
Manjuji combines beauty, creativity and tradition to bring out the “Rasa” (colours) of Indian classical music. It is her amazing sense of melody, rhythmic control and the sheer beauty of her improvisation that make a lasting impression, enabling her to earn high praise from the masters of the field.
“She is a creative performer of exceptional calibre,” warmly notes Sarod player Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
It was Jay’s immense fortune that she was the co-founder, trustee and teacher at the Saptak School of Music when Jay started there. Under her guidance, he learnt and is still learning the intricacies of playing Tabla as an instrument in accompaniment. Practice sessions with her are full of energy, learning and fun! With her spontaneous sense of creativity and exquisite understanding of Indian rhythmic patterns, she demonstrates and instils in Jay, the knowledge of technicalities of Tabla in accompaniment as well as the art of creating extemporaneous ‘Tihaais’.
“This stream of learning is quite different to the exposure you get when you learn the Tabla as a solo instrument. Mummyji is a warm and sensitive human being and a Guru par excellence”, exclaims Jay.