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This year’s trip started with my customary one day Singapore visit and halt at my parent’s place. Its always wonderful to have a home away from home, was my first feeling as I walked home from Bedok MRT. After a long walk at the East Coast park, a scrumptious meal and catching up with an old friend from school, Sanket, it was time for bed and preparing for my departure to Bali the next day.

There’s something about this place, Bali. Right from the scent of incense sticks at the Airport to the streets where ancient statues and temples sneak up you, there’s something about this place that reminds me of home. I observed in Indonesia something that I find slowly dwindling in India, the dignity of labour all around; Despite other ‘Indian’ conditions of amount of people, traffic and chaos. there’s a certain kindness and calm in the air, all around and in the people here in Bali, a deep-breath full of which I could sure use at this moment…

My first Indonesian word courtesy my driver Dewa who came to pick me up: ‘Sukshma’, which means, ‘Thank You,’… Lovely isn’t it?

After an hour long drive from the airport, even though it was dark, as I walked into the beautiful Bhanuswari Resort, I could feel the vast paddy fields and trees everywhere. One week of drumming in paradise this is going to be… I think I was the first participant to arrive and be welcomed by this banner:

I woke up this morning and postponed my urge to swim and had some yummy food followed by my other urge to go sort out my Djembe for the workshop and for the wonderful community of Djembe drummers that is gradually building back in India. And since this would be my only free day before the workshop, it seemed like the perfect time to do so… Thanks to my friend and TTM Cairns Director, Miss Tara Tucker (Drum Up Big), I was led to the calm and composed Mr. Aan who, at first sight seemed like a man who knew what he was doing and was true to constantly improving himself at the ever evolving art of Djembe making.

Now would be a perfect time to say something about these amazingly talented Balinese wood carvers. I’m positive much has been said about them in the past but seeing it live and up close is another experience altogether. Even as Wayan, my bike rider/tour guide showed me around and took me to Mr. Aan, all I could see oh so often were wood carvers everywhere; all sitting and chiseling away at their soon to be works of brilliant handicraft.

I got back in time for my first authentic Indonesian Mi Goreng. Words shall fall short in describing the whole-ness of this meal so i’ll let my iPhone camera do the talking… *Chomp Chomp*

As all of this is going on I can’t help but keep imagining what lies ahead of me in these seven days to come. This will be my third chance of learning from the Grandmaster Mamady Keita. Singapore 2010, and San Diego 2011 were my first two opportunities. Lots has changed since the first time I met Mamady; my understanding of the Djembe and all it represents has widened, I have gotten to know this community of drummers that has dedicated its life to spreading this vision far and wide – all inspired by one man who has made the Djembe an instrument without borders. I have observed the journeys of some of these crusaders, I have seen and heard the stories of the rest. Almost each experience shows clarity, courage, hard work, struggle and finally success. These are the assistant teachers for this workshop:

The one who has made Mini Guinea Asia a reality, TTM Singapore – Kelvin Kew
TTM Fukuoka – Hiroki Murai
TTM Hong Kong – James Kwan
TTM Cairns – Tara Tucker
Certified teacher and Mamadys manager and djembe maker extraordinaire – Jeremy Tomasck

And those I will have the pleasure of getting to know in the seven days to come:

TTM Mishima – Ken Tukoda
Certified Teacher – Sekou Soumah

I will be updating this section of the blog as regularly as possible and look forward to exploring another realm of rhythm within myself with you all…

Come. Drum. Be One.

Taal Inc.

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