Metro People: First female tabla player going strong

Anuradha Pal started playing when she was just 10.

Anuradha Pal is the first female professional tabla player in the world.

The tabla exponent has collaborated with many well-known artistes across the globe.

She is the leading member of bands ‘Stree Shakti’, ‘Recharge’ and the most-recently formed ‘Su-Fo-Re (Sufi Folk Recharged).

Anuradha also composed the anthem for female empowerment for the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s #NariShakti campaign in 2018; it was performed by her band ‘Stree Shakti’.

Talking to Metrolife, the percussionist, who started playing at the age of 10, says it was challenging to establish herself in a patriarchal and largely nepotistic domain. “People were not even willing to teach me. But with determination, I went along, and my passion became my profession,” she says.

She calls for a more open attitude, especially when women are excelling in every profession.

Says she, “It was hard. I was determined not to let people degrade me; I was very focused on my work.”

She also feels the world of music is changing now and is more welcoming. Anuradha notes that she was told by her parents to work harder even though she earned many laurels at a young age. It is what made her excel in her profession, she says.

“Being humble and rooted is important for one to grow,” she asserts. Anuradha also heads a tabla academy -- Anuradha Pal’s Tabla Academy -- in Mumbai. She is now planning to expand it by starting vocal, guitar and keyboard classes.

“The whole idea is to use music for transformation,” she says. On that note, she also conducts wellness classes at her academy. Talking about the music trends in India, she admires how the Carnatic music events are organised, citing the example of the December music festival.

She says, “It is brilliant how they do it. That’s one thing that we have to get into Hindustani music.”

She also has a piece of advice for music aspirants, “Music is not about money. Don’t commercialise it. Opt for learning.” Apart from enthralling the audience with her music, Anuradha is also the brand ambassador of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’.

The music maestro is also featured as one among ‘51 Indian Women Role Models’ in the book ‘The Dot that Went for a Walk’, written by Lakshmi Nambiar, Reema Gupta and Sarada Akkineni, published in January.

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Metro People: First female tabla player going strong

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