Tandava is inspired by the folk and classical music of India and Bangladesh, and draws upon the wealth of musical traditions from China, the Middle East, Africa, and the West. Tabla and polyphonic
marimba provide the rhythmic and textural foundation for erhu, flutes, guitar, and vocals to soar over. Original compositions, dynamic improvisation, and arrangements of traditional styles bridge the ancient and the contemporary. Among Vancouver’s most successful world music artists, the members of Tandava are trained in Carnatic, Hindustani, Chinese, and Western classical traditions. On CBC Newsworld, Adrian Harewood described the quartet as ‘a metaphor for Canada in the 21st century’. Tandava’s unique blend of instruments, musical sensibilities, and
ethnic traditions results in an original voice, created from and reflecting our rich intercultural environment.
-Tandava recorded and filmed by CBC in 2009 and the 40 minute concert is featured on CBC TV and radio.
-Tandava nominated for Best Ensemble and Best World Music group by Canadian Folk Music Awards
-Tandava nominated in the Idependent Music Awards in the World Fusion Album category
PRASHANT JOHN (vocal, bamboo flute & guitar)
Born in Lahore and raised in Bangladesh, Tandava's founder Prashant Michael John has performed and collaborated with musicians in India, Bangladesh, S.E. Asia and North America in genres from folk, rock, and jazz to world music. His evolving compositions, while influenced by Indian, Pakistani and Bengali music, combine the styles and instrumentation of a variety of cultures. Prashant also performs and records internationally with his trio Lehera with members Prakash Sontakke and Karthik.Subramaniam, and with Real World Studios recording artist, Nitya Das Baul. In Canada, he records and collaborates with musicians in different genres. He has studied Carnatic theory and rhythm with K. Rajarangan, Carnatic flute with Shankar Rao, African Fula flute with Bailo Bah, Baul music with the Bauls of Bengal, and Jazz with teachers from the Berklee School of Music.
JONATHAN BERNARD (marimba & percussion)
Jonathan combines his background in western percussion with a fascination for Asian traditions to create a unique sound palette incorporating a myriad of instruments, techniques and styles. Jonathan's interests span numerous genres from orchestral music to new music, and world music. Having premiered over 70 chamber works, Jonathan regularly performs with the Orchid Ensemble, Vancouver New Music, Four Gallon Drum, Ensemble Symposium, and numerous orchestras including Vancouver, Victoria, National Ballet and CBC Radio Orchestras. He is currently the principal percussionist with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Jonathan's interest in World Music has led him to perform Chinese, Javanese, Balinese and Korean music and study traditional and contemporary Chinese percussion in Beijing and Arabic percussion in Cairo with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Jonathan has toured throughout North America, Europe and Japan.
LAN TUNG (erhu-Chinese violin, vocal & percussion.
Originally from Taiwan, Lan draws her background in Chinese music and fuses it with contemporary music, free improvisation and various ethnic styles, such as Indian, Flamenco and Central Asian. The artistic director of the JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble and vice president of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, Lan has premiered numerous contemporary compositions, including a Canadian erhu concerto with the Symphony Nova Scotia at the opening of Canadian New Music Network conference. Trained at Taiwan’s Chinese Cultural University, Lan went on to study with erhu virtuosi Jiebing Chen in San Francisco and Zhang Funming in Beijing, with Hindustani violinist Kala Ramnath in Bombay and Egyptian violinist Dr. Alfred Gamil in Cairo. As a composer and improviser, Lan has studied graphic notation with Barry Guy and improvisation with violinist Mary Oliver in Europe.
STEFAN CIHELKA (Tabla and percussion)
Since 1993, Stefan has studied the art of Tabla under the guidance of the great Ustad Allarakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Fazal Qureshi, Pandit Yogesh Samsi and Sri Satwant Singh. He has performed and recorded with many prominent international artists such as Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ustad Irshad Khan, Sri Salil Bhatt, Abdullah Chaddeh, Amir Koushkani, the Tea Party, Harry Manx, Ian Moore, the VSO, the CPO and many others. Stefan is not only a performer of traditional Indian classical music, but also an important figure in the world music/fusion scene and teacher in Vancouver. Stefan's sensitivity and creativity have allowed him to perform with musicians from India, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Africa, China and most notably Iran, where he has begun the study of Persia's percussion traditions with master Pejman Hadadi.
Lan Tung - and Vocal, Erhu
Jonathan Bernard - Percussion, marimba
Stefan Cihelka - Percussion, Tabla
Prashant John - Vocals, Guitar, flute
Tandava's self titled enhanced debut Cd distributed by Festival Distribution was released November 8, 2006 - Thanks to the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR.
A song from the CD has won free inclusion in the April issue (through Sonicbids) of Global Rhythms' Cd sampler and is played regularly on CBC since it's release.
World Music Central
[+ Show ]
For those who have been looking for a succinct description for "world music," this is it. All t... For those who have been looking for a succinct description for "world music," this is it.
All these musicians have performed with various genres and types of musicians. For instance, Lan Tung has performed with Gypsy, Indian, Celtic, Jewish, blues, rock and Vietnamese musicians. Prashant has collaborated with musicians from India, Bangladesh, South East Asia and North America. And both percussionists, Bernard and Cihelka have run the gamut from folk to classical music traditions of the world. You cannot even imagine what this music sounds like, nor can I describe it to you other than saying it has a sonic beauty and that the weave of polyphonic percussion and exotic instruments in the hands of virtuosos should not be missed.
Tandava Travels the World
[+ Show ]
Off Beat By Alexander Varty [shortened) Coming out of silence, the haunting sound of an erhu sket...Off Beat
By Alexander Varty
Coming out of silence, the haunting sound of an erhu sketches out a plaintive melody. It sounds like sunrise, like an invocation of dawn, and the sensation is only strengthened when a wooden flute joins in, circling the Chinese violin's tune with warm-toned spirals of sound. Chimes and gongs and a subtle, indeterminate drone complete the picture--but the spell is broken after a minute or so, when an assertive tabla starts up, causing flute and erhu to spin off into a glorious dance, backed by slippery marimba and a two-note bass line that could have been lifted from the Yardbirds.
Eventually a singer enters and it becomes obvious that this lovely music has its roots in South Asia; in fact, the tune is called "Dooare Aishachey", and it's an old Bengali folksong about death and living an honest life. But in the hands of Tandava, whose demo we've been listening to, the music is both authentic and unbounded by tradition. Singer, guitarist, and flutist Prashant John's ancestors would recognize the song and its message, but it's never been played like this before.
It's possible that John's forebears would also recognize the impulse to update and expand their cultural heritage. For although Tandava's founder says that he's been into his particular version of cross-cultural fusion "for quite a while", the more he talks the more obvious it becomes that he was born into a world where old boundaries were breaking down and new sounds emerging.
"I remember being given a harmonica, and I started learning tunes on that," says John, who was born in Bangladesh and emigrated to Canada at the age of 19. "My father also used to play the accordion," he continues, on the line from his East Vancouver home, "and I was the only kid [in my family] who, at the age of five or something, would spend as much time as I could around anyone playing an instrument. So I learned all these really old songs, both western and Indian. And, of course, I went through the popular music of our time--in the 1960s, we'd listen to the stuff that was current in the West--as well as the folk music of our area. As a teenager, I started to focus on western music; the few of us that played the guitar had to figure everything out for ourselves, because there was no one to turn to for instruction."
John's guitar skills are evident in the two original compositions that join "Dooare Aishachey" on Tandava's untitled demo CD: "Common Ground" mixes a blues-rock introduction with a circular picking pattern that wouldn't sound out of place in Mali or Morocco, while "Thai Sunrise" suggests that John McLaughlin's groundbreaking work with the group Shakti must have been an influence. Even more noticeable, though, is that Tandava is a group, not one musician's dream project: John may be the band's founder, leader, and chief composer, but without the contributions of the other performers, the end result would sound very different.
"It was a question of finding musicians who were first into world music", John explains, adding that he'd been thinking about forming a band like Tandava for a long time. Its exact lineup didn't fall into place until he attended an Orchid Ensemble concert a couple of years ago, however. "I was blown away," he recalls, and it didn't take him long to convince percussionist Jonathan Bernard and erhu virtuoso Lan Tung that they needed a second outlet for their musicality.
"I thought 'Wow, the possibilities are endless,' and to be quite honest, even now there's so much more that can be done. We've just started really using their abilities and their styles to compose around. And the thing that impressed me about Lan was when she took a solo when the drums were going at the end and everyone was jamming. I said, 'Yeah, I need that kind of energy.'
With tabla player Stefan Cihelka completing the quartet, Tandava is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting groups on Vancouver's burgeoning world-music scene....
--and this listener, for one, can hardly wait to hear more.
A NOTE:Since this Article:
Thanks to the Canada Council of the Arts and Factor, Tandava's self titled enhanced Cd was released in November 2005.
[+ Show ]
The first impression of Tandava is a lush and striking garden of sounds, styles, genres and emotive ...The first impression of Tandava is a lush and striking garden of sounds, styles, genres and emotive quality. Mixing classical Indian music with Chinese erhu, ringing marimba, guitar and vocals, not to mention a list of other supporting nstruments, their texture and color are phenomenally striking, unique and ultimately, mesmerizing. Blending touches of folk, jazz and classical into the hybrid, this album keeps the listener constantly on the edge of her seat, thirsty for more. It's rare to find such an album to abundant and voluptuous with stylistic vocabulary. This is a true gem.
Call of the Dragon - excerpt
[+ Show ]
By TONY MONTAGUE Friday, June 17, 2005 Page R5 ....Tandava, a quartet that's starting to make w...By TONY MONTAGUE
Friday, June 17, 2005 Page R5
....Tandava, a quartet that's starting to make waves
on the North American world-music scene.
"The idea for Tandava came from Prashant John," says Bernard, a percussionist with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, who plays marimba with the band. "The music is very much rooted in the Carnatic [South Indian] and Bengali traditions. Prashant plays bamboo flute and guitar and brings the basic compositional ideas to the group. We develop them in a very organic way, bringing in our different influences
-- Chinese classical music and folk from Lan, North Indian rhythms from Stefan [Cihelka], our tabla
player, and textural arrangements from me with my orchestral and chamber-music background."
Cd Review in the Province - excerpt
[+ Show ]
....[Tandava] weaves music that is not only atmospherically lovely but also has tension (see "Thai S.......[Tandava] weaves music that is not only atmospherically lovely but also has tension (see "Thai Sunrise").
The pieces, then, aren't a self-satisfied melange of Indian acoustic music but burns with purpose.
Tandave Cd review in RAVE (India) - excerpt
[+ Show ]
This is certainly one of the more unusual world music bands of our time..... ....Devoid of excessiv...This is certainly one of the more unusual world music bands of our time.....
....Devoid of excessive use of electronica ...The band members manage to fuse all their influences with consummate ease....
Tandava in National Geographic
[+ Show ]
Tandava recieves a mention in National Geographic's 'World Music: Canada Overview' By Paul-Emille ...Tandava recieves a mention in National Geographic's 'World Music: Canada Overview'
By Paul-Emille Comeau
Cd Review excerpts
[+ Show ]
"A gorgeous disc featuring polyrhythmic marimba, tabla, erhu, bamboo flutes, guitar, various vocal t..."A gorgeous disc featuring polyrhythmic marimba, tabla, erhu, bamboo flutes, guitar, various vocal traditions...For those who have been looking for a succinct description for "world music," this is it." Patty-Lynne Herlevi, Cranky Crow World Music/World Music Central
"...impeccable delivery of harmonics, texture and complicated rhythms. The band members manage to fuse all their influences with consummate ease." Rave Magazine, India
"Chinese erhu master Lan Tung’s bowed lines join Prashant John’s gorgeous bamboo flute while Jonathan Bernard’s marimba juggles the beat with Stefan Cihelka’s tabla in dreamy, trance-inducing pieces totally lacking any smack of convenient sonic appropriation." Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Province
"Tandava is starting to make waves on the North American World Music scene." Tony Montague, Globe and Mail
"...an aural cocktail that is as intoxicating for a West Coast Anglo Saxon as it is for a native of Bangladesh." Marke Andrews, Canwest News
"Tandava is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting groups on Vancouver's burgeoning world-music scene...the music is both authentic and unbounded by tradition". Georgia Straight
"What an amazing blend of instrumentation and style. The recording is set apart from many pan-cultural music productions by the consistent tone and perspective achieved." Wade McGregor, Mc Squared System Design Group, Inc.
"...their texture and color are phenomenally striking, unique and ultimately, mesmerizing...It's rare to find such an album to abundant and voluptuous with stylistic vocabulary. This is a true gem." Derek Sivers president, CD Baby & Hostbaby
Tandava gives performances of various length from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the venues and settings.
Namaaz Comp. Doorbeen Shai Arr. Tandava
Dooarey. Abdul Alim. Arr. Tandava
Faso Denou. Comp. Farafina. Arr. Tandava
Kaha ho Kanha. Trad. Arr. Tandava
Dance of the Amis (Taiwanese aboriginal folk song, arr. Tandava)
Water Girl. Comp. Zakir Hussain. Arr. Tandava
Set the controls for the heart of the sun. Pink Floyd. Arr. Tandava
Tripura Sundari Trad. arr. Tandava
All pieces except for the ones with additional notes are composed by Prashant and arranged by Tandava.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.