Chakardar is Europe’s leading promoter of Indian percussion. It seeks to enhance the understanding of Indian Classical Drumming with its complex rhythmic patterns across all communities in the UK and Europe. Established in 2000, Chakardar began as a small tabla tarang ensemble of students led by Ustad Harkirat Singh Rayatt. Borne out of a deep-grained passion, Chakardar expanded as the UK’s leading promoter of Indian percussion, establishing a name for itself as an organisation which values Tabla excellence and promoting it with a passion unrivalled in the UK. A not-for-profit organisation with the aim of representing global tabla artistes and performers, Chakardar showcases talent and sharing knowledge with avid listeners and tabla enthusiasts across the country. It promotes awareness of this extremely versatile instrument through artistic projects to inspire interest. Chakardar’s extensive experience and links with great maestros allows for the influx of the highest calibre of expertise into the UK.
Chakardar is proud to have hosted performances/workshops/concerts and collaborated with the following artists and groups:
- Pandit Shankar Ghosh
- Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri
- Pandit Anindo Chatterjee
- Pandit Kumar Bose
- Pandit Suresh Talwalkar
- Pandit Nayan Ghosh
- Pandit Kushal Das
- Ustad Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari
- Pandit Yogesh Samsi
- Ustad Akram Khan
- Pandit Subhankar Banerjee
- Pandit Sanju Sahai
- Pandit Bickram Ghosh
- Prabhu Edouard
- Rhythmscape (UK & Europe)
- Rimpa Shiv
- Sankar Chowdhury
- Shahbaz Hussain
For avid listeners and tabla connoisseurs alike, Chakardar provides intense tabla solo performances ranging from completely traditional to modern.
World Music & Fusion
For the world music enthusiast, Chakardar hosts fusion concerts which bring artists from varying traditions and disciples together in unique syncretic performances.
Knowledge & Learning
For the student and knowledge seekers, Chakardar holds regular tabla classes across various regional hubs in the UK, as well as numerous workshops, lecture demos and the long-established Chakardar Residential Tabla Summer School for concentrated development.
Students benefit from the Chakardar experience, including the opportunity to perform in the Chakardar Tabla Ensemble, a tarang arrangement of tabla students performing in a group setting on a regular basis.
Take a look at the history of Chakardar with highlights of all our main events:
Chakardar Ensemble - The Beginning
Chakardar began in its earliest form as a tabla tarang performance group consisting of Ustad Harkirat Rayatt and his senior students. Their debut performance was in Southend, Essex at a Bengali Hindustani Classical Vocal Music Performance which included sarod, tabla, khol and many other instruments. The group continued to perform showcases regularly on a nationwide basis with the advent of new members as the years pass, the performing group continues to showcase their talent to audiences today.
Workshops & Solo - Bickram Ghosh
Chakardar was fortunate to have Bickram Ghosh conduct a one-day workshop for students of all levels of experience in London. This concluded with an exceptionally fiery tabla solo which was eventually released as a solo CD album entitled “Tabla Odyssey”
This was subsequently re-released later in India to the indian market.
Tabla Solo - Subhankar Banerjee
At the time a rising star within the performing scene in India, Subhankar Banerjee performed a tabla solo to excited tabla enthusiasts in West London in March 2002. The audience was witness to some exceptionally rare compositions from the lineage of Ustad Masit Khan and Ustad Keramatullah Khan of the Farukhabad Gharana. Subhankar displayed an incredible ability to play multiple dheredhere movements and a strong double ‘na’ stroke in his performance.
Workshop Duo - Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Bickram Ghosh
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee conducted a short workshop in West London with Bickram Ghosh – this event concluded with a short impromptu duet from both tabla players
Pandit Kumar Bose UK Tour
We conducted a three stop tabla solo tour of Pandit Kumar Bose in Birmingham. London and Leicester with sarangi accompaniment from Kamal Sabri. It was an incredible success with many enthusiastic listeners across the UK in attendance.
Bickram Ghosh’s new project, Rhythmscape made its UK debut performance in a tour including London and Essex (Southend and Colchester) to great success…
Chakardar Tabla Retreat - The Beginning
The Chakardar Tabla Retreat began with Bickram Ghosh’s father, the maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh who helped carve the path we continue today with inspiring and sharing knowledge with the next generation to this day. A unique feature which still holds strong is Pandit Shankar Ghosh’s concept of “TALA-CLASS”, a moment for all the groups of students to congregate together and focus on rhythmic development using clapping and numbers without the use of tabla in order to improve rhythmic accuracy and encourage improvisation, focus and discipline irrespective of instrument.
The teachers were:
Pandit Shankar Ghosh
Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee
Ustad Harkirat Rayatt
Rhythmscape members were still in the UK at the time, so students were treated to a delightful medley of hindustani classical vocal music from khayal through to light classical bhajan/thumri/dadra on the final day, with fiery accompaniment by Bickram Ghosh.
Pandit Shankar Ghosh and Bickram Ghosh - Father and Son Tabla Duet
Shortly after the first annual tabla retreat, Chakardar showcased Pandit Shankar Ghosh and his son’s extraordinary performing talent to the delight of the students who had attended the learning sessions, as well as their parents and avid listeners alike. The tabla duet took place in West London and remains one of the highlight events of Chakardar’s history.
Chakardar Tabla Retreat with Sam-Yo!
The second Chakardar Tabla Retreat joined forces with Sam-Yo!, the south asian music youth orchestra with further tuition from tabla player Subhasis Bhattacharya and vocal tuition from Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty. Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee, Harkirat Rayatt and Bickram Ghosh were also teaching and performing at the retreat.
Evening performances included a tabla duet by Gurdain Rayatt and Harkiret Bahra, a percussion demo by Bickram Ghosh, a vocal recital by Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and Subhasis Bhattacharya on tabla and more including a workshop for Sam-Yo! students where Bickram Ghosh meticulously taught the ensemble how to perform his Rhythmscape track entitled “Gangotri”
Chandra Chakraborty (Vocal), Sujata Banerjee (Kathak) and Tabla Duet
After the second annual tabla retreat, a triple-bill performance with vocalist Chandra Chakraborty, kathak dancer Sujata Banerjee and tabla player Sanju Sahai in the first half followed by Pandit Shankar Ghosh and Bickram Ghosh performing a tabla duet in Jhaptaal in the second half.
Yogesh Samsi Tabla Solo
Rising maestro of the tabla, Yogesh Samsi performed a tabla solo in West London in a small bhaitak atmosphere to eager and enthusiastic tabla students. The performance showcased the skills and knowledge gained from the legend Ustad Alla Rakha Khansaheb
Chakardar Tabla and Vocal Retreat + Tribute Concert In Memory
This year, the Chakardar Tabla Retreat included vocalist and husband of Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Smt. Sanjukta Ghosh, a prolific teacher and performer of the Patiala Gharana having been a disciple of the late Ustad Munavar Ali Khansaheb, himself the son of legend Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaheb. The addition of vocal teaching drew in a larger group of students and this particular year we had relocated from Essex to Royal Ascot in Berkshire for the tabla retreat.
Shortly before our third Chakardar Tabla Retreat, we experienced the sad news of the sudden passing of Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee. As a result, our final concert on the Saturday was a tribute to his unending dedication and passion for art, culture, music and spirituality. Special guests and attendees shared their memories of Gurmitji’s affectionate and giving nature, his immense positivity and appreciation for so many things from cameras, to artwork, wildlife, biology, music, digital computing, tabla, music and devotional kirtan and prayer. Smt. Sanjukta Ghosh performed a vocal recital, Bickram Ghosh performed a tabla solo and the students performed a group item.
This tabla retreat was the first to include a “Drum-Jam” on the final morning, where students were encouraged to freestyle on their instrument or another instrument of their choice. We welcomed musicians and students of all disciplines to see what fresh music or interaction could take place. Pandit Shankar Ghosh surprised us all with his improvisation on the darbouka!
Rimpa Shiv - Princess of Tabla
The young rising star of tabla Rimpa Shiv was given a chance to really show that the tabla is not restricted to men, with a fiery, dramatic and exciting performance of the highest standard to a surprised and appreciative audience in West London including a standing ovation and encore…
Pandit Suresh Talwalkar Performing Group
Pandit Suresh Talwalkar brought his incredible performing group complete with vocal bandishes, pakhawaj and tabla to Darbar Festival 2011 – Chakardar held their concert in West London alongside an opening performance by Harmeet Virdee and Gurdain Rayatt
Ustad Akram Khan Tabla Solo
Tabla maestro Ustad Akram Khan performed a thrilling tabla solo in West London to tabla enthusiasts. His unique playing is known for its speed and ability to execute extremely rare and difficult techniques and repertoire from the Ajrara gharana.
Chakardar Annual Masterclass - Cambridge
Ustad Harkirat Singh began the first in a series of annual Chakardar Tabla Day Masterclasses in Cambridge to tabla students of all experiences and ages. This was later supported and run by his son, Gurdain Rayatt in addition to supporting the annual Tabla Retreat.
Anupama Bhagwat UK Tour - Essex
Chakardar hosted young sitar professional Anupama Bhagwat during her UK tour with tabla player Gurdain Rayatt, holding two concerts in Chelmsford and Gravesend
Chakardar Tabla and Vocal Retreat 2006
Chakardar’s 4th tabla retreat included devotional kirtan singing from the classically trained Ragi Amarjit Singh Ji, attracting many sikh students of vocal music who wished to improve their kirtan performing and vocal standards. Bickram Ghosh wowed advanced students in his sessions with his ability to keep the ‘taali’ (time signature) of ‘Char Tal Ki Sawari’ (11 beats) on his hands while simultaneously reciting the same thing at a completely different multiple of speed, until they both landed in the same place!
Students showcased their performance skills, with some young students showing formidable development since the retreat began. We were also lucky to experience African djembe drumming with some impromptu improvisation by Bickram Ghosh’s ‘cheek-drumming’ with the performers!
Chakardar Tabla Retreat 2007
The 5th Chakardar Tabla Retreat included support learning for beginner students by Gurdain Rayatt.
All the usual teachers were in attendance including Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Bickram Ghosh and Ustad Harkirat Rayatt.
Special highlights included an evening tabla duet presentation by some very young brothers as well as an in-depth and intimate interview with Pandit Shankar Ghosh, highlighting his musical and life development from a young age, with demonstrations of compositional material by his disciple Gurdain Rayatt.
The Drum Jam was especially exciting with some talented musicians in attendance including Jesse Bannister (saxophone) and Giuliano Modarelli (guitar)
Sunev - Chakardar New Creations Project
Chakardar showcased ‘Sunev’, their creations project with a performance by the group in West London.
Bickram Ghosh – tabla, handsonic, tambourine and more…
Pete Lockett – drum set, darbouka, djembe, shakers and more…
Mounir Baziz – arabic Rai violin and multi-instrumentalist…
Jesse Bannister – saxophone and keyboard…
Giuliano Modarelli – guitar…
Chakardar B.Mus Degree (with TVU/University of West London) 2005 - 2011
Chakardar was very proud to be part of the B.Mus Bachelors Degree in Performance Composition. This allowed tabla students the opportunity to complete an entire degree qualification and gain a Bachelors in Music from the University using their tabla skills including practical and theoretical study and development to provide a high level holistic learning experience.
In 2011, many students successfully graduated from their music degree scoring very high results.
Chakardar Tabla and Sitar Retreat 2008
Chakardar was fortunate to have Pandit Kushal Das in attendance at their 6th annual tabla retreat to offer sitar lessons to budding students and professionals alike. We were also happy to welcome Prabhu Edouard, a senior disciple of Pandit Shankar Ghosh from France to teach students.
We moved the retreat once again to a wonderfully musical venue, the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey and were fortunate to have the enormous hall for the performance item on Saturday evening which included performances by students, sitarist Pandit Kushal Das, a short fusion surprise including Sunev member Mounir Baziz alongside Prabhu Edouard (cajon and darbouka) with Bickram Ghosh on tabla and Greg White on guitar.
Highlights included Pandit Kushal Das’ “vocal-flute” used to great effect in the ‘tala-class” sessions and Prabhu and Bickram’s improvised jugalbandi with tables, chairs, mugs and pepper grinders at breakfast!
Chakardar Tabla Retreat 2009
The retreat returned again at the Yehudi Menuhin school and included an especially memorable sitar workshop led by Harmeet Virdee including specific interview questions to Pandit Shankar Ghosh about his experience accompanying Ustad Vilayat Khansaheb during the infamous “Darbari Kanada” recording of 1968. Prabhu Edouard returned again to teach alongside Bickram Ghosh and Ustad Harkirat Rayatt.
Chakardar Tabla and Kathak Retreat 2010
With the absence of Prabhu Edouard on this occasion, two disciples of Pandit Shankar Ghosh accompanied him to the UK, providing extra tabla tuition support as a duo (Surojato Roy and Kaushik Konwar). They were especially appreciated by young students who felt at ease with their youthful behaviour and patience.
This marked the first retreat that included kathak dance, with many students in attendance to learn kathak dance. Tabla students had the opportunity to perform and accompany alongside the kathak dancers and the final evening performance included a showcase of dance and tabla skills, including an electrifying tabla trio by Gurdain Rayatt, Surojato Roy and Kaushik Konwar (Chandayann-TriDhaa), a carefully crafted piece composed by Pandit Shankar Ghosh focusing on the harmony and technical detail of tabla playing in an ensemble format. The evening closed with a kathak performance by Hanna Mannila and santoor recital by Kiranpal Singh with accompaniment by Gurdain Rayatt.
Chakardar Tabla and Kathak Retreat 2011
Prabhu Edouard returned again for the Tabla Retreat with more arduous preparation for the performance item for students which was in 5 microbeats. Students benefitted greatly this year on more focused group activity encompassing all the levels and ages of those in attendance to ensure they could all contribute and learn together in a performance setting. Individual group classes also remained in the timetable.
Gurdain and Harkiret showcased a unique presentation entitled “Drum Dub” to inspire young students to ‘recite’ and see tabla in a more vibrant and exciting way in other art forms including music, videos, cartoons and through improvisation.
Performances included a special tribute to Pandit Shankar Ghosh by two disciples Prabhu Edouard and Gurdain Rayatt.
Chakardar Tabla and Kathak Retreat 2012 - Celebrating 10 Years
Chakardar was proud to celebrate its 10th annual tabla retreat by welcoming Bickram Ghosh back for teaching sessions. Advanced students were treated to special ‘kathak’ parans and laggi improvisation in different time divisions from Prabhu Edouard and outdoor performance rehearsals in the sunshine.
Gurdain and Harkiret treated students to special tabla videos including “Tabla Matrix” and “Where is the Sam?”
This year we were honoured to have Padmashree Pandit Pratap Pawar teaching kathak, with the lucky opportunity to accompany his sessions on the tabla. The performance evening was spectacular with a special kathak student showcase and solo as well as a tabla duet in Char Taal Ki Sawari by Pandit Shankar Ghosh and Bickram Ghosh.
Chakardar Tabla and Kathak Retreat 2013
This year we missed Pandit Shankar Ghosh who was not able to attend due to health concerns. As a result Gurdain Rayatt became a teacher within the timetable with support sessions by Harkiret Bahra. Special moments included a tabla duet evening performance by advanced students, kirtan accompaniment session as well as evening tabla duet by Gurdain and Harkiret followed by a sarod performance by Arnab Chakrabarty with strong accompaniment from Prabhu Edouard.
Gurdain and Harkiret showcased further tabla video material including “The Man with the Golden Hammer”, “Scream and Shout” and other tabla parodies!
Chakardar Tabla Retreat 2014
We were pleased to have Pandit Shankar Ghosh back in the retreat with us accompanied by Surojato Roy with extra teaching from Gurdain Rayatt and Harkiret Bahra in addition to the usual teaching sessions by Ustad Harkirat Rayatt. Prabhu Edouard unfortunately could not make this particular retreat. On this occasion, the retreat was moved to Essex.
Gurdain and Harkiret presented their most ambitious and well received video work to date (“Tabla TV”) featuring parodies of Apple, Shopping TV, News, Weather and other material including music videos and movie trailers.
Performances included flautist Jay Gandhi accompanied by Surojato Roy and a tabla showcase by students followed by a tabla solo by Gurdain Rayatt. A small intimate drum jam was conducted outside on the grass the next morning, with some expert “kes-kes” skills presented by Surojato!
Chakardar Tabla Retreat and Shivir 2015 (in association with Darbar)
Chakardar teamed up with Darbar to host Pandit Nayan Ghosh as the leading teacher at this year’s summer school due to travel limitations for Pandit Shankar Ghosh after health concerns. Students were keen to experience some older and traditional learning styles and material. Prabhu Edouard returned for teaching with some special and interesting additions to the ‘tala-class’ session by Panditji.
Gurdain and Harkiret presented a compilation of their past videos including a new “Top Gear Tabla Special” edition. Students were treated to an intimate interview and demonstration of tabla playing by Pandit Nayan Ghosh and special contributions to the student showcase concert including advanced fixed compositions. Highlights included an evening tabla solo by student Binderpal Bains and a sarod recital by Dhrupad Mistry (disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khansaheb) with accompaniment from Binderpal Bains.
The Sad Passing of Pandit Shankar Ghosh
In January 2016, we were sad to hear of the passing of Pandit Shankar Ghosh who had initiated and been the inspiration for the Chakardar Annual Tabla Retreat that he had spent 11 years present at, teaching a variety of students who remained gripped by his enthusiasm and tireless energy and knowledge. His soul lives on through our efforts to promote music, share our knowledge and in the hearts of all the students including his disciples such as Prabhu Edouard and Gurdain Rayatt.
Panditji will be missed by all and will never be forgotten…RIP 1935-2016
Chakardar Tabla and Vocal Retreat 2016 (in association with Darbar)
This year’s retreat was held in Royal Ascot, Berkshire. Due to last minute difficulties, Pandit Nayan Ghosh was unable to attend the tabla retreat, leaving Chakardar at a loss for teachers to cater for the students! We were hugely thankful to Shahbaz Hussain for attending the first 3 days of the tabla retreat to impart the knowledge and material he has gained from his three gurus (Ustad Shaukhat Hussain Khan, Ustad Alla Rakha Khan and Ustad Faiyaz Khan) of the Punjab and Delhi Gharanas. Shahbaz performed a solo before leaving on the Friday evening. On the final day we were lucky to have Sanju Sahai join Chakardar for teaching sessions and perform a breathtaking tabla solo on the final performance night.
Darbar supported Chakardar with a vocalist Suchismita Das who taught students throughout the retreat and also performed onstage prior to the final tabla solo, with tabla accompaniment by Gurdain Rayatt. Other performances included a student showcase with other performances on previous nights.
Chakardar Tabla Retreat and Sitar Shivir 2017 (supported by Darbar)
We are looking forward to hosting our 15th annual retreat this August in Mill Hill School, North London with Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Prabhu Edouard, Gurdain Rayatt and Harkiret Bahra teaching the tabla. Sitar sessions will be taught by rising young performer Anupama Bhagwat. The saturday evening performance will include a student showcase as well as a sitar recital with accompaniment by Pandit Nayan Ghosh on the tabla.
Where: Mill Hill School, Mill Hill, London
When: 2-5 August
Book: Call 07714 065 078 to book now!