This Friday, July 29, 2016, critically-acclaimed tabla artist Suphala will return to the Rubin Museum theater for a special Rhythms of India performance, in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Zafer Tawil. Below, Suphala answers a few questions about her artistry and her upcoming performance at the Rubin:
How would you describe the sound of the tabla and what do you love about the instrument?
For two small drums, the tabla has a surprisingly wide range of sounds and tones. This, along with the endless rhythmic possibilities allow me to keep discovering new ways of expressing myself.
What is unique about your performance style?
I think everyone’s performance style reflects some aspect of their personality and mood. There are things I can say only through playing tabla which I couldn’t if I were speaking to someone. So, it’s a very interesting way to communicate and express who I am.
Do you have any rituals or practices that influence the way you play or perform?
Mainly to be relaxed and feeling good ahead of time so we can give good energy to the audience.
What is unique about performing at a museum?
You can feel the presence of the great works of art, the history, and stories behind them. The Rubin Museum in particular—having art from and surrounding India—has a familiarity for me; [I also have] great respect for the pieces and place in which they are housed.
How does art (visual or otherwise) influence your music?
I’ve enjoyed painting and making films since I was a kid. For me, it’s all part of the same thing—just different ways to communicate. Music is very visual for me. Patterns and shapes appear in front of me as I play. The sound of what I’m playing is intrinsically linked to what I’m seeing.
What can Rubin Museum visitors expect at your performance?
I’m looking forward to sharing our music with Rubin Museum visitors. I hope they will enjoy themselves and maybe hear something new!