The Creative Process behind OPEN


We are excited to be releasing our new EP “Open” on April 16th at Lula Lounge. Our compositional journey of this album started almost 2 years ago during our visit to the Ali Akbar College of Music in the Bay Area in California. Oriana Barbato (Rakkatak’s bass player) and I attended classes there and were very lucky to meet the amazing sarod player and disciple of Ali Akbar Khansahib, Steve Oda. Steve and I started practicing on a weekly basis and one day, he agreed to let me record him. You will hear his extraordinarily solid playing on Make A Wish and Delight off of the new EP. During our time there, we also met the talented Joanna Mack, who is a disciple of Pandit Deepak Choudhury and an immensely dedicated and generous musician. You can hear her beautiful sitar playing on the track Ebb and Flow.

Upon returning home, Oriana and I joined forces with Montreal-born songstress Elana Harte, and began composing what was meant to be an epic rock tune. Subsequently, compatriot and sitar maestro Rex Van der Spuy recorded some tracks and something completely different began to emerge, a charming and mesmerizing piece of music. This song became a passionate tour de force when we lastly put down vocals by the incomparable Samidha Joglekar and flamenco extraordaire Fernando Gallego Torres. Samidha and Fernando respectively sang in Hindi and Spanish, this insightful quote by Rumi: “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

For the fourth track, Delight, we contacted Anita’s previous bandmate from the Toronto Tabla Ensemble , Gurtej Hunjan, to record some solid grooves on Dhol, and add the feeling of being in a street festival.

The last song on our EP, Hysterical, was shaped by the poetry of spoken word artist Damion Plugz and the intricate lines of bassist Oriana Barbato. The only vocalist edgy enough to meet the demands of this song was Rosa Ruiz Velasco who currently lives in London, UK. We sent her the track, she wrote the lyrics and recorded her voice. When we had our first listening session, we were blown away. Finally, band member, friend and supporter from day one, Lisa Patterson, added her touch by recording a sweet and powerful sax solo. You can also hear her magic in Make a Wish.

Our dear friend, Reza Moghaddas mixed all the tracks and we are so happy he did because of his appreciation of tabla and Rakkatak’s sound. We found an amazing photo of a keyhole by Portuguese photographer Lauren Maganete and also used some of Satpal Singh’s photos, tied together on our album cover with graphic design by Hossein Milani. Lastly we took the album to the fine folks at Silverbirch for mastering by Mr. Andy Krehm … and here we are ready to show it to the world!

On April 16th we will be releasing this baby at Lula Lounge with our core band: Oriana Barbato (bass), Lisa Patterson (sax), Carlos Lopes (guitar), our newest member Morgan Doctor on drums and yours truly on tabla and laptop. Samidha Joglekar and Fernando Gallego Torres will be singing on select tunes that night as well. Joining Rakkatak for the occasion are fellow global sonic explorers Lenka Lichtenberg and DJ medicineman.

Preview Open here:

RAKKATAK Open EP release with Lenka Lichtenberg + DJ medicineman
$12 advance at
$15 at the door
Wednesday, April 16th

LULA LOUNGE (1585 Dundas St. W.)

Doors at 7 pm, show 8pm
Dinner reservations guarantee seating
Call 416-588-0307 or visit to reserve
Facebook event

Posted in Rakkatak

Being in it, then letting go

It recently dawned on me that I’ve been studying tabla for almost 20 years. Through the good times and the bad, I sit with my drums on a daily basis. I take the amazing repetoire that has been passed on to me by my teachers and try to breathe life into it. There are days when tears come to my eyes as I gain a bit more insight into the balance of my hand, how the tension in my jaw affects the tension in my wrist and the importance of elusive relaxed thumb and pinky. As my mind spins, I realize that the lessons in life can be applied to tabla and vice versa.

On February 4th, I will be presenting a tabla solo with the immensely talented George Koller joining me on dilruba. My goal is not to play to perfection but to enjoy the process and then let go as I move through the material. The audience will get a glimpse of these beautiful and mathematically brilliant tabla compositions, composed by musical geniuses (i.e. Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Ahmed Jan Thirakwa).

“Lehera II” is the sequel to my first solo performance at Musideum in 2012 (entitled “Lehera”). Lehera is the melodic cycle that represents the structure of the taal or time cycle in North Indian classical music. Within the lehera played by George, I will be exploring the movement of Jhap taal (time cycle of 10 beats), Chartaal ki sewari (time cycle of 11 beats) and Teen taal (time cycle of 16 beats). There will be explanations of tabla concepts including: taal, laya, tihai, teka, palta teka, kayda, rela, gat, tukra and chakradaar.

For more details check the live section of this site, and our FB invite. Please do come out and join me on this journey of being “in it” and then “letting go”.

~ Anita

Posted in Rakkatak
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