Five Deadly Talas
Founded in 1997, The Nada Brahma Music Ensemble was created by guitarist, composer, musical instrument innovator and arranger Matthew Grasso. As students of the famed Ali Akbar College of Music (San Rafael, CA), Matthew Grasso and Alex Jenkins have studied with the legendary musical Gurus Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, respectively. The Nada Brahma Music Ensemble\'s style can be described as Indian Classical Fusion. The ensemble plays original ragas and talas (melody forms and rhythmic cycles). These talas range from traditional eight or ten beats to the unusual 4 3/4 or 9 1/4 beats. Matthew Grasso performs on a 25-stringed Raga Guitar built to spec by luthier Scott Richter of Fairfax, Ca. The Raga Guitar is a Hybrid of an extended 7-string classical guitar and the sarod, an Indian instrument. The Raga Guitar has seven playing strings, twelve sympathetic strings, two chikari strings, and four jawari strings. Matthew's distinctive style is a unique synthesis of classical guitar, Ali Akbar Khan's sarod, and L. Shankar's ten-string south Indian violin. Alex became interested in Tabla while on a trip to India. During this time, he spent several weeks studying and learning the basics of Indian Rhythm. Once back in the US, he continued his studies and spent two years at California Sate University, Sacramento (studying Tabla) under the guidance of Daniel Kennedy. For the last seven years, Alex has had the honor of being a student of the great Tabla maestro, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, CA. As an accomplished percussionist, Alex has had the unique opportunity to play in many musical settings (on both Tabla and Drum Set) and finds great satisfaction in experimenting with Indian Rhythm on all sorts of different percussion instruments.