Rakkatak merges classical Indian rhythms and melodies with a pop music aesthetic. Rakkatak started as Anita Katakkar‘s solo project, out of her need to share the subtle beauty of tabla in a non-traditional way. Having lived in multicultural Toronto all her life, Anita’s diverse musical taste is reflected in Rakkatak’s material. The band has just released their third album “Small Pieces” this past April 2017.
Featuring tabla player Anita Katakkar, bassist Oriana Barbato and sitarist Rex Van der Spuy this band’s multi-faceted creativity and eclectic musicianship combust on stage to create a unique, coloured and intoxicating vibe. Rakkatak aims: to serve the Canadian-Indian community by maintaining the integrity of Indian classical music and giving it a space to evolve in a contemporary context; to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue through our music; to change the perception that tabla is a male dominated art form and to further the notion that female artists can be leading professional instrumentalists. In addition to performing, members of Rakkatak have conducted tabla workshops at Long and McQuade, Girls Rock Camp Toronto, Small World Music Centre, Culture Days in Toronto and out of the Armadale Community centre in Markham.
With Indian/Scottish roots in multicultural Toronto, Anita Katakkar‘s music represents a link between her heritage and community. In Toronto, she studied tabla with composer and musician Ritesh Das and in California and Kolkata with the pre-eminent exponent of the Lucknow style tabla, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Anita has performed, toured internationally and recorded with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble and Jeff Martin and has toured nationally with The Tea Party. She has shared the stage with legendary Kathak dancer Chitresh Das, flamenco dancer Esmeralda Enrique, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, Canadian/Armenian guitarist Levon Ichkhanian and Paris based singer/songwriter Melissa Laveaux.
Rex van der Spuy has been playing sitar since 1989, and has studied John Campana, Irshad Khan and Sahana Banerjee. He performs a style Indian Classical music which is deeply rooted in tradition while featuring a contemporary and personal approach. Rex has performed and given lecture demonstrations in Canada, Brazil, South Africa, and India and makes occasional radio appearances. Featured performances include: Toronto Indian Consulate General’s Independence Day celebrations (1996), Prime Minister of Western Cape Province’s Tourism Initiative Launch (2006), Cape Farm House Summer Concert Series (2007), Kirstenbosch Winter Concert Series (2007), Residency at Obz Theater, Cape Town (with Zaria and Firefly, 2007), Residency at Café Taste (Toronto, 2008) and other collaborative performances with South African bands Hot Water and Imaginarium. He produced the 2007 CD Valley of Dreams, a CD of original compositions, and his sitar playing has been featured on Firefly’s CD Someday (2007) and Zaria’s In The Garden (2008). Rex currently divides his time between Toronto, Cape Town and India.
Oriana Barbato‘s signature style doesn’t come from market trends. This Chilean bassist goes well beyond pop by adding her knowledge of world music and downright technique to her bass playing. Oriana’s versatility, work ethic, and stage presence have brought her to venues across North America and Europe, where she was last seen opening with latin/flamenco fusion act TaKiLo for La Troba Kung Fu. She has also shared the stage with world-renowned musicians such as Qawwali master Shahid Ali Khan and Warwick endorsed bass prodigy Jorge Campos as well as opening for Canadian acts Bif Naked and Nomadic Massive. Oriana is also a sound artist and has composed music for short films. Her work has been exhibited at various art galleries in North, South America and Europe.