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Sameer Gupta: Namaskar

img  Tobias Fischer

It’s not for me to judge how difficult Indian tabla drums are to play, or if any given John Bonham wannabe could blow Sameer Gupta away on the things. The setup is 2 bongo-looking drums, each played with a separate hand. They don’t look too difficult to me, but I thought the same thing about women at one point.

Despite what anyone in their right mind would assume (keep in mind he studied under famed tabla master Anindo Chatterjee), this Harlem-based drum pro isn’t trying to fill a narrow world-music niche here. His goal is crossover appeal, and so he plays a lot of regulation drum kit as well, on boppy things, modal things, Bollywood-ish things (his band is small but the coverage is huge) and traditional Indian ragas. Everything is inflected with Gupta’s inherent ethnicity, which is a neat trick – all very NPR, yes, and by now you have a very, very firm grasp on whether you want to hear it or not.

Regardless, I’m required by law to give the LP a high mark, being that in its own way it’s as ambitious a world release as Dengue Fever or whatnot.

By Eric Saeger

Homepage: Sameer Gupta
Homepage: Motema Music

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