This 29-year-old tabla guru makes a case for buying local instruments. Here's how

From 2015, he even started giving physical classes for tabla but that's on hold for now. All his classes are digital currently. Also, Srikant can play 31 instruments. And this is his inspiring tale  
Srikant | (Pic: Srikant Rao)
Srikant | (Pic: Srikant Rao)

Training since the age of three, participating since the age of eight, teaching since the age of 21 and now at 29, he is collaborating with international artists — this is the story of Srikant Rao, the table player who hails from Berhampur, Odisha, who was brought up in Rourkela and who currently resides in Hyderabad. After learning under various gurus and pursuing his PGDM in HR and Marketing from Institute of Public Enterprise, the youngster came to the City of Nizams. To make music learning more accessible and affordable, he started Paddant School of Music in July 2015. Srikant went online much before the pandemic and has taught 150 to 200 students worldwide, he particularly has fond memories of teaching students from Istanbul and Romania.

If you search for his online videos on YouTube, you might not find them, though he has uploaded a few basic tutorials, because all his online lessons are unlisted. About five pre-recorded classes are offered which is followed by a live one-hour session. "And of course, I am always available for any doubt clearing that is required," shares the young tabla guru.

Collaboration underway | (PIc: Srikant Rao)

Srikant's YouTube channel — named Srikant — is also filled with rare performances of other maestros like that of Pandit Jasraj and Ustad Zakir Hussain. "A friend's father works for ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) so with his help and other sources, I get access to videos in the public domain that are not on YouTube," he shares. He is also a huge advocate of Akbar Miya & Brothers, the oldest tabla makers in Hyderabad who follow old procedures to make the instrument. "My work has become inclined towards collaborating with other musicians and endorsing traditional Indian instrument makers, lately," shares the musician and adds, "Each musician should support local craftsmen, that's the way forward," he asserts.

Speaking of collaborations, Srikant talks about how Brazilian musician Celia Malheiros reached out to him last year and collaborated for songs like Tablatú and the more recent, Alem do Alem, both of which are up on YouTube for us to enjoy. "The addition of an Indian element to the music, namely the tabla, is a hit with the people there, it turns out. So we are looking forward to collaborating some more," he shares.  

Must-watch videos of Srikant:
- Basics of Tabla - Part 2 - Hasta Saadhna | 2.5k views 
- Hand Practice for Index and Middle Finger | 8.6k views  

For more on him, check out

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